Upon what meat have you fed
that you can…
Have they heard the mockingbird?
I have just read Catherine Gianaro’s fascinating
starlings and their melodies” (“Investigations,”
October/03). I don’t know whether I have something to tell
the scientists that will aid their research or something that they
already know and have long since dismissed.
I grew up in Alabama and have always known that
the mockingbird picks up and sings the songs of all the other birds
in the neighborhood. At least that is the folklore of the South.
If it is correct, then the starlings can’t match a feather
to the accomplishments of that orchestra that never leaves the South.
I wish you would check with the researchers
to see if Southerners in this belief are still fighting the Civil
Bowling Green, Ohio
Investigator Daniel Margoliash responds:
Mockingbirds are Mimus polyglottos, part of the family
Mimidae, or mimics. They are very well known to mimic a
wide variety of sounds in their environments, including but not
limited to songs of other birds.
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