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#115224 - 11/04/03 08:01 AM Mockingbirds
Wordwind Offline
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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
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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
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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
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Registered: 09/30/01
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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
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Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
If et' reads here, I can email him the digital photos

send 'em, WW!!

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formerly known as etaoin...

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#115229 - 11/04/03 11:13 PM Re: Mockingbirds
maahey Offline
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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#115234 - 11/05/03 10:24 PM Re: Mockingbirds
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
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Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
I got the first two, WW. I will get them up on Friday evening, as I'm not home at all tomorrow.

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#115235 - 11/07/03 06:49 AM Re: Mockingbirds
Faldage Offline
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Registered: 12/01/00
Posts: 13803
If you were to play the same piece, one that you had composed yourself, over and over and the mockingbird learned it and sang it to a Czech composer who was visiting the States and he used it in a symphony he was composing could you sue him for copyright violation?


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#115236 - 11/07/03 08:38 AM Re: Mockingbirds
wwh Offline
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Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
Dear Faldage:No, she'd have to sue the mockingbird.


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#115237 - 11/08/03 07:38 PM Re: pictures
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
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Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
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#115238 - 11/08/03 08:54 PM Re: pictures
maahey Offline
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Registered: 12/03/02
Posts: 555
Thanks eta and WW! Our little Yehudi does look like he is attentively absorbing, doesn't he?

Faldage and wwh ^5

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#115239 - 11/08/03 10:07 PM Whaddya gonna do?
Happy Birthday consuelo Offline
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Registered: 06/11/01
Posts: 2636
Loc: Caribbean
And if that mockingbird won't sing...?
I can see from the second picture why your parents might be concerned about the house getting messed...
It's a right cutie, tho'. I hope it's still there when you get back.


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#115240 - 11/09/03 06:50 AM Re: pictures
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
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Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
Yehudi

MenuhEn?

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#115241 - 11/09/03 07:30 PM Re: pictures
Wordwind Offline
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Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
Thanks, et', for posting those. We just returned from NY tonight--and I took off tomorrow to recover from the 11-hour drive. I'll practice K&I tomorrow and see whether the little m'bird will return. I hope so.

Connie: That's oatmeal on the windowsill I left for him, but he wasn't interested in oatmeal. I s'pose m'birds don't like o'meal.


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#115242 - 11/09/03 07:54 PM Re: pictures
wwh Offline
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Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
Dear WW: As far as I can find out, mockingbirds do not eat seeds. I have a URL which says they will eat a variety of berries. A friend from South Carolina told me many years ago that they will eat raisins strung on a thread. I never had any luck with it, though. The recorded song on the URL is LOUSY.
http://birds.cornell.edu/BOW/NORMOC/

P.S. The only thing I have ever seen them eat is live insects.


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#115243 - 11/09/03 08:42 PM Re: pictures
Wordwind Offline
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Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
Because of you, wwh, I will string some raisins before I practice tomorrow!


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#115244 - 11/10/03 08:24 AM Re: pictures
AnnaStrophic Offline
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Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
I love this! Keep us "posted," WW.


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#115245 - 11/10/03 09:33 AM Re:No bird
Wordwind Offline
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Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
Well, my bird has not returned. I practiced for an hour this morning, and tried to find higher passages from "The King and I"--but no little bird. If he doesn't appear by this afternoon, I'll drive up to church to get the anthem that he seemed to be obsessed with that Saturday he stayed with me for eight hours.

maahey--the report from David Dunn was wonderful!!!!!! Oh, Lord, I wish I could have seen those ravens over the Grand Canyon! What an extraordinary miracle he witnessed there among trumpets!


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#115246 - 11/10/03 01:04 PM Re: pictures
wwh Offline
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Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
Dear WW: if you have any roses that need pruning, take a stalk with thorns, and impale raisins on thorns. It might look more natural to the mockers.
Here is a URL with some more mockingbird pictures:
http://www.afn.org/~don/mock.html

In the URL,he talks about birds having "gray eyelids". I think he may be mistaken, and was describing the "nictitating membrane". Here's a URL, scroll down 1/3
http://ebiomedia.com/gall/eyes/protect.html



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#115247 - 11/15/03 06:33 PM Re: Mockingbirds
Wordwind Offline
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Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
The bird has returned. He liked the march in "The King and I." I am so relieved he is back. It's dark now, but he returned right before nightfall to peck at the window.


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#115248 - 11/15/03 07:15 PM Re: Mockingbirds
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
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Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
looking forward to hearing more, WW!

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#115249 - 11/16/03 06:54 AM This Morning He Woke Me
Wordwind Offline
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Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
I was asleep in my bedroom, which is directly above the living room window where he sits and listens, when I heard pecking at my bedroom window. I recognized the familiar sound, and looked at my window. There sat mockingbird looking in at me. Immediately I got up, he flew away, and I went downstairs to where my parents were drinking coffee and told them that the bird had awakened me. Grabbing a cup of coffee as quickly as I could, I went to the piano and began to play for him--and, sure enough, within a minute he was at the living room window looking in and pecking every now and then.

Do you think this bird is smart enough that he now recognizes my head and knows that I'm the one who plays for him? I must admit to being shocked that he pecked at my bedroom window while I slept. Perhaps it was just coincidence--he just happened to fly to a new window--but he has, in the past, only pecked at the living room window. He looks rather fat as far as mockingbirds go, by the way.

Must get ready for church, but this latest report couldn't wait.


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#115250 - 11/16/03 09:42 AM Re: This Morning He Woke Me
maahey Offline
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Registered: 12/03/02
Posts: 555
WW!!!!! How wonderful is this!!! I feel like singing out loud!
WW, we must name him, don't you think? I suggested Yehudi, sometime back.... What shall we name him?
And, I think he does recognise you; he must have made a connection between you and the music.


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#115251 - 11/16/03 10:35 AM Re: This Morning He Woke Me
wwh Offline
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Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
I just found Latin name of mockingbird: Mimus polyglottus.
Too bad it is so hard to tell gender of them.
If WW's bird were female, "Mimi" would be a good name.
"Je m'appel Mimi....


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#115252 - 11/16/03 02:04 PM Re: This Morning He Woke Me
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
He really hasn't sung yet; he just pecks! Mimus polypeckus.

I wish I could play for him this afternoon, but there is a huge stack of student maps that need laminating--and that will take most of the afternoon light. But I'll try to hurry and maybe get little Yehudi Mimus polyglottis back for a while before dark. maahey, I wish you were here to see this.


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#115253 - 11/16/03 02:08 PM Re: Just now!
Wordwind Offline
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Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
Just as I was posting the above post, there behind me was the familiar tapping--the bird was again at my bedroom window saying hello to me while I sent the post from this laptop.

Oh, well. Bird wins; laminating loses. I'm going downstairs to play for him. With that kind of fan, there's no way I can disappoint him!


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#115254 - 11/17/03 08:27 AM Re: Music hath --!
wow Offline
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Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 3439
Loc: New England, USA
That's not a fan, WW, that Mimi bird is a groupie!
How lucky you are.
I have is a neighbor's deaf Golden who visits daily but I suspect it is forthe treat I give him. Not called "Greedy Goldens" for naught.
Does your bird have favorite composers? Have you tried different ones?
Waiting with baited breath .... the Golden is back!



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