Northern Mockingbird 2000ab BINNS P5300136 copy

Aerial Display

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Jul 5, 2022 | by Adrian Binns

Leaping from the top of a tall column. Soaring straight up into the sky on outstretched wings. Descending in a head-first dive before stopping at the last minute. These amazing aerial displays reflect the bold spirit of a Northern Mockingbird trying his best to attract a mate. He lives in the cemetery blocks from my home, and I enjoy his antics each morning while walking around the space.

This mockingbird is unrelenting in his quest for a partner. He’s been displaying and singing at full voice for more than 6 weeks, despite the close proximity of at least 2 other pairs in the cemetery. From the top of a marble pillar, he runs a few steps then flies upwards, flashing broad white wing patches and outer tail feather multiple times. He rises at least 6-8 feet up before twisting and dropping down head first. In a split-second he opens his wings and fans out his tail to parachute the last few feet to land squarely onto the stone.

Day after day, the mockingbird repeats his performance, usually from the exact same pillar. I marvel that another mockingbird is not as interested as I am!

The flight display of my local Northern Mockingbird, though abbreviated in height, reminds me of Hoopoe Larks in the Sahara desert in Morocco.  They, too, capture my attention with impressive aerial displays that reach heights of 25-30 feet before parachuting back down. It’s great fun to watch birds with such amazing flight skills!

Greater Hoopoe Lark

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