Midnight Mockingbird

So the other night, at around midnight, James is out back unwinding before bed, and calls me out because he hears a bird.

I was expecting a nightbird–a whippoorwill, maybe, which would be cool, because I’ve never heard one, or maybe if I was lucky a chuck-widow’s-will which I’ve also never heard. An owl, perhaps.

Instead, it was a mimid. I listened for a few minutes, unable to quite tell if it was a thrasher or a mockingbird, and anyway, what the hell? It’s midnight!

Last night, he called me out again. The bird was calling again, and this time I was able to tell, because it repeated the calls three or more times, that it was a Northern Mockingbird.

Calling at midnight. Dude. Weird.

But I went and looked on-line, and to my surprise, mockingbirds are in fact known to sing at night. Only the bachelor males sing at night, in an effort to pick up chicks, possibly thinking that if they can keep the female awake, she will eventually snap and scream some mockingbird equivalent of “FINE! I’ll mate with you tomorrow, now SHUT UP SO I CAN SLEEP!” (If I was a single female mockingbird, I can’t swear this tactic wouldn’t work on me–after a coupla sleepless nights, I’ll agree to a lot of things if it means I can get some shut-eye.) Once the male gets some nookie, he apparently stops singing at night.

So out back, there is one lonely male mockingbird, singing his heart out, lookin’ for love, while love attempts to roost someplace quiet and shoves her primaries in her ears.

I don’t mind the singing–I can’t hear it from inside–and it’s sort of nice to wander out in the dark and hear a bird singing off in the distance. But at the same time, I can’t help but root for the little guy to find his feathery princess, sweep her off her talons, and finally be able to stop his midnight serenade.

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