MockingbirdHere is the report I wrote in sixth grade about mockingbirds. I turned it as a joint report for both my science teacher (Mr. Amato) and my music teacher (Mr. Noa). They each gave me a B, and their comments were sort of the same:

Mr. Amato:

“Good job. I enjoyed your recording of their singing, but you could have done a bit more work on the biology and habitat of these wonderful birds.”

Mr. Noa:

“Well researched science, but I would prefer if you’d dug deeper into the musical talents of these wonderful birds.”

Northern Mockingbirds
Ronald Mack

Mockingbirds are best known for their ability to copy the sounds of other birds. They have also been heard copying insect and amphibian sounds. The species that lives around my school, the Northern Mockingbird, has the scientific name Mimus polyglottos, which is a perfect name because it means mimicking many sounds.

A painting of Northern Mockingbirds by James John Audubon, the most famous bird naturalist of the 19th century
A painting of Northern Mockingbirds by James John Audubon, the most famous bird naturalist of the 19th century

The Northern Mockingbird has gray and brown upper feathers and a lighter-colored underside. Males are slightly larger than females. They look alike, but only males sing. They do that to attract mates.

They eat insects and fruits, which makes them omnivores (means “eats everything”). The Northern Mockingbird is very popular and is the state bird of five different states: Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. It used to be the state bird of South Carolina, but they changed to the Carolina wren (probably because it has Carolina in the name).

They can live in lots of different environments. Bird scientists (ornithologists) estimate there are more of these birds in city areas than in woodsy areas.

Blue speckled eggs laid by the Northern MockingbirdUsually once a male and a female become a pair, they stay together forever. The male does most of the nest building, while the female stays nearby looking out for intruders. The eggs are light blue or green and have speckles. The female lays three to five eggs. She sits on them for almost two weeks, then both parents feed the chicks.

To Kill a Mockingbird, a novel by Harper LeeThere is a very famous book called To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.  I have not read it (but my father says I definitely will read it in high school). He told me that in the book they say it is wrong to kill a mockingbird because “they don’t do one thing for us but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.”

Here is the sound of the Northern Mockingbird singing its heart out.

I think the Northern Mockingbird is my favorite bird. Except for penguins, which do not live anywhere near my home.

Do you have a favorite bird?

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