Birds of Seabrook Island

COAST BIRDS
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ANECDOTES

  Northern Mockingbird
 
 

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Species Acct.
Loons
Grebes
Procellarids
Pelicans
Herons
Ibises
Storks
Vultures
Flamingos
Waterfowl
Raptors
Turkeys
Quail
Rails
Limpkin
Cranes
Shorebirds
Gulls
Terns
Auks
Doves
Parrots
Cuckoos
Owls
Goatsuckers
Swifts
Hummers
Kingfishers
Woodpckrs
Flycatchers
Shrikes
Vireos
Crows/Jays
Larks
Swallows
Tits
Nuthatches
Creepers
Wrens
Kinglets
Gnatcatchers
Thrushes
Mimids
Starlings
Pipits
Waxwings
NW Warblers
Tanagers
NWSparrows
Cardinalines
Icterids
Finches
OWSparrows

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  Order Passeriformes
   Suborder Passeres - Oscines (Song Birds)
      Parvorder Passerida (Superfamily Muscicapoidea)
         Family Mimidae - Mimic Thrushes

  Passerines are generally smaller than non-passerines. They have a perching foot with three toes directed forward and the one backward with locking tendons to facilitate perching when their tendons are flexed. All passerines scratch by bringing the foot over the wing. Incubation ranges from 11 -21 days. Young hatch blind with little or no down and spend 10-15 days or so in the nest - development is rapid and parents provide care beyond fledging.
Oscines are passerines with complex syringeal musculature used to produce varied vocalizations. 
Muscicapids include waxwings, dippers, thrushes, Old World flycatchers, starlings, and mimids.
Mimic Thrushes are medium-sized North American passerines with slender, often decurved bills. They are terrestrial or feed near the ground. they have complex songs that may incorporate phrases from other birds or the environment. They may defend a food source.
  Seabrook Mimic Thrushes:
   Gray Catbirds are found in dense thickets, often near water. Elements of their song are unique. Their call is a buzzy "meow."
   Northern Mockingbirds are found in open areas and fields. Their song elements are repeated about three (2-6) times . They may incorporate other bird's songs.
   Brown Thrashers are birds of the forest edge. Their song elements are repeated twice (2-3 times).
 
Darwin's Mockingbirds
     
  Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottus
 
   Cornell     USGS     Wiki     EoL
        YEAR ROUND - Common, breeds / Common
            OPEN HABITATS (scattered brush, forest edge, gardens, towns, cultivated areas)
MORE PICTURES
 
   Northern Mockingbirds are ubiquitous on Seabrook - they are much more birds of open areas and fields/lawns than catbirds which frequent dense shrubby areas (thrashers are edge-birds - often seen beside our roads)... The mockingbird is gray with white outer tail feathers and white patches in the wing. They are whitish below and have a thin dark eye-line. Feeding birds often flash these white wing-patches, perhaps gaining a reaction from potential prey? Young birds have some faint spots on their breast.
   Mockingbirds are active. They may attack intruders  (including large ones like dogs) found near their nests (or food reserves). They flash their white patches and are generally obvious in their environment.
Northern Mockingbird
     
Northern Mockingbird. Jenkins Point
   
  RANGE: Mockingbirds breed across the southern states of the US ranging from New England and the lower Great Lakes across Illinois, central Iowa and Nebraska, Colorado and Nevada to the coast of California (absent in the California inland ranges). Their range extends south through Baja, southern Mexico, the Gulf coast and Florida, and north up the Atlantic. They may withdraw from the northernmost parts of their range in winter but are largely sedentary.
   The range appears to be expanding northeast - perhaps related to the planting of multiflora roses as ornamentals.
  BREEDING: Monogamous. Two (3-4) broods. The male builds the nest foundation and the female completes it. The nest is a cup in a low tree, a shrub, or in vines and is built with twigs and lined with grass and rootlets. They complete it in 4-8 days. Females lay 3-4 (2-6) eggs which she incubates for 12-13 days. Chicks are brooded for about 4 days by the female. Young are altricial and they fledge in 11-13 days but are not fully capable of flight for another week. The male takes over parental care of the first brood while the female renests.
   Mockingbirds form long-term pair bonds. Individuals may defend winter territories.
  DIET: They feed on insects, fruit and berries, crayfish, snails, sowbugs, berries, and a few small vertebrates. Young are fed mostly insects. Invertebrates predominate in summer, fruits in winter. They forage on the ground and may watch for prey from a low bush. They forage in bushes and shrubs to eat berries.
  VOICE: Like catbirds, Mockingbirds sing a rambling (and loud) series of varied phrases, often repeating each note three (2-6) times. Their song may incorporate elements of other birds songs - starlings, Blue Jays, seasonal migrants at the appropriate time, etc.)
  NOTES:
   Checklists -
      Seabrook (breeds). Kiawah - common year round (breeds). Edisto - resident.
      Coastal - common permanent resident. Hilton Head - common permanent resident. Cape Romain - common year-round, breeds.
         Huntington Beach
- common, year-round
      Caw Caw - common year-round, breeds. ACE - common year-round, breeds.
   Kiawah Island banding - Capn' Sam's spit - 3 (1 recapture) Aug-Sep 2009; 5 (1 recapture) Aug-Oct 2010; 1 Apr 2011;
      19 (4 recaptures) Aug-Nov 2011; 1 Mar 2012; 16 (3 recaptures) Sep 2012.
   CBC: ACE 35, 25, 28, 58, 20, 19, 41, 33; Charleston 51, 72, 31, 54, 18, 62, 34, 102;
            St Helena/Fripp x, x, x, x, x, x, 17, 67; Hilton Head 93, 262, 103, 271, 131, 106, 59, 153; Sun City/Okatie 63, 192, 62, 154, 41, 72, 91, 72;
            McClellanville 34, 21, 17, 22, nc, 33, 40, 31; Winyah Bay x, x, 31, 56, 35, 42, 28, 33; Litchfield/Pawley's 106, 195, 79, 153, 51, 170, 109, 213.
   SCBBA: All counties.
   P&G: Common resident. Egg dates: 17 February - 6 July.
   Avendex: 2 reports. February, July. Maximum: 30, Georgetown, July 21, 1998.
   Potter: Versatile singers - imitate up to 30 other species. Singing males face the sun when it is low and nocturnal singers face any light source. Common to abundant permanent resident.
  ●  Common. Mockingbirds are found in more open areas in all inland parts of the island and are common breeders. Listen for a repetition of song elements 3-5 times.
    The four species of Mockingbirds found in the Galapagos were probably the most important series of species to instruct Charles Darwin, presenting a compelling case for natural selection and evolution. See several of these related species...
   
   

"Mimics"

   Several species mimic the songs or sounds of other birds or natural sounds in their environment. Mockingbirds often mimic species singling in their environment - often preceding their arrival (we has one uttering the Great Crested Flycatcher's song this spring). Starlings often voice jay-like notes or mime other birds. The Nightingale is a famous mimic. Blue Jays often give the call of a Red-shouldered Hawk. Other imitations I've heard a jay give include the song of an Eastern Towhee (right notes and cadence, bad timbre). Perhaps the ultimate mimic, however, is the lyre-bird, a suboscine found in Australia. Ernst Mayr describes an encounter - he was miles into the bush in Australia when he heard a steam-locomotive complete with whistle coming his direction. It was a lyre-bird! [View this clip to hear a male imitate other birds, a camera shutter, a car-alarm, and chain saws felling nearby timber!]
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    Banner - Northern Mockingbird. Palmetto Lake?
       
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KEY:    ■ Seabrook list     □ Kiawah list