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#115224 - 11/04/03 08:01 AM Mockingbirds
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
This is a tale you may enjoy reading. It is not word-related, so I apologize.

This past Saturday I was preparing an anthem for our Sunday service. The music was rather difficult, so I spent the entire day working out difficult passages. About ten in the morning, I heard pecking outside the living room window and spotted a mockingbird tapping there. I assumed that the bird had seen its image and was simply pecking at it.

I returned to the piano and my work where I continued to hear intermittent tapping at the window that went on till noon when I got my camera and began snapping photographs of the mockingbird. When I went to the window, the bird would not leave. It looked at me, stopped its pecking, and would fly into a holly bush, but it would return as soon as I returned to the piano--and it would begin tapping on and off.

The mockingbird accompanied my playing until about 5:30 p.m.

The next morning (Sunday) when I warmed up at 6:30 a.m., the bird returned.

I didn't play again till Monday night. No bird.

But this morning with school being out, I began to work on the accompaniment for "The King and I," for which I'll be the high school accompanist, and the bird returned and began tapping.

This is a remarkable little bird. It either hates to death what I am playing--or it is perhaps trying to get at a foe--or perhaps it loves the sound of the piano.

Just thought you might like puzzling this one out with me.


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#115225 - 11/04/03 08:08 AM Re: Mockingbirds
maahey Offline
addict

Registered: 12/03/02
Posts: 555
What a lovely experience, WW! I think he likes the music. Why don't you open the window today and play for a little bit and see what he does? And do, come back here and tell us what happened; I for one, will be waiting to hear.


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#115226 - 11/04/03 09:00 AM Re: Mockingbirds
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
I have long been interested in mockingbirds since I learned long ago that there allegedly was one in the Arnold Arboretum whose song was said to be recognizable as beginning of a Beethoven composition. Here in Van Nuys, mockingbirds are very common, and I have heard many of them sing. But I have never heard them imitate another bird, or any music. Maybe Wordwind's bird was trying to learn the music she was playing. Dear WW: have you any reports of mockingbirds copying other birds songs, or phrases of music?


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#115227 - 11/04/03 09:18 AM Re: Mockingbirds
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
I have heard countless reports by farmers around here who have said to have *witnessed mockingbirds imitate songs of other local birds. I haven't witnessed this myself, so the farmers' reports may be taken with a grain of salt upon the bird's tail.

maahey: I did open the window on Saturday afternoon, but the bird never entered. My aged parents fussed at me--said that if the bird had entered, we would have had a helluva time getting it out and it would have soiled the carpet.

If et' reads here, I can email him the digital photos I took of the bird on Sat and he can post them, if he would be so kind!


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#115228 - 11/04/03 09:02 PM Re: Mockingbirds
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
If et' reads here, I can email him the digital photos

send 'em, WW!!

_________________________
formerly known as etaoin...

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#115229 - 11/04/03 11:13 PM Re: Mockingbirds
maahey Offline
addict

Registered: 12/03/02
Posts: 555
All right WW, wwh, eta....be prepared for a treat of links! The first is a brief overview from JHU on the research into the capability of birds and humans of picking one particular sound amidst many others, as in say, a loud room or a forest.

http://www.jhu.edu/~gazette/janmar97/mar1097/hulse.html

And this one has an interview with a gentleman who records similar experiences to yours, WW, with ravens, mockingbirds and blue jays! Nice interview too! I think he is a musician; he makes a reference to a CD in the end of the interview and the last url is a link to a CD by someone of the same name, (David Dunn - I went a-googling for him), called Angels and Insects. There is a brief audio clip there; listen...you will love it.

http://artscilab.org/~david/writings/Interv2.pdf

http://www.earthear.com/catalog/angels.html

WW, am convinced he is trying to learn what you are playing. Try playing the same thing everyday at the same time, for a week or so and maybe you will wake up one morning to sweet violin-like bird notes! Wouldn't that be simply marvellous!!


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#115230 - 11/05/03 04:42 AM Re: Mockingbirds
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
It would be, maahey!

However, we're going out of town to NY for several days. I do hope the bird will still be here--and he probably will.

et'...

If I have a minute while packing tonight, I'll send you my digital photos of the bird. Will you PM me your email address? Thanks.


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#115231 - 11/05/03 08:16 AM Re: Mockingbirds
maahey Offline
addict

Registered: 12/03/02
Posts: 555
"we're going out of town" - , shall await further postings from you on this.


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#115232 - 11/05/03 08:56 AM Re: Mockingbirds
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
I guess the Van Nuys mockingbirds just aren't as talented as those elsewhere. They have a wide repertoire, but I have never heard them mimick anything I could recognize.Here is one more apparently knowledgeable article about them:
http://www.baynature.com/2003julysept/atn_2003julysept.html


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#115233 - 11/05/03 08:23 PM Re: Mockingbirds
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
I am in the process of sending et' two photographs. Wish I had more time, but must go to sleep now to get up early to teach and then get on the road early to go to NY for a long weekend.

Anyway, et', those photographs are probably not the best in the bunch, but I'll send you some more later that I cull out of about, oh, fifteen I took of the bird.

maahey, I can tell you honestly that if the bird is no longer here when I return, I shall be sad.


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