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( Originally Published 1894 )
The Mocking Bird is a native of America and many stories are told of its wonderful powers of mimicry. The following description is furnished by Wilson: "The plumage of the Mocking Bird, though none of the homeliest, has nothing gaudy or brilliant in it, and, had he nothing else to recommend him, would scarcely entitle him to notice; but his figure is well proportioned, and even handsome. The ease, elegance, and rapidity of his movements, the animation of his eye, and the intelligence he displays in listening, and laying up lessons from almost every species of the feathered creation within his hearing, are really surprising, and mark the peculiarity of his genius. In his native groves, mounted upon the top of a tall bush or half grown tree, in the dawn of a dewy morning, while the woods are already vocal with a multitude of warblers, his admirable song rises pre-eminent over every competitor. The ear can listen to his music alone, to which that of all the others seems a mere accompaniment. Neither is this strain altogether imitative. His own native notes, which are easily distinguishable by such as are acquainted with those of our various song birds, are bold and full, and varied seemingly beyond all limits. They consist of short expressions of two, three, or at the most five or six syllables, generally interspersed with imitations, and all of them uttered with great emphasis and rapidity, and continued with undiminished ardour for half an hour, or an hour, at a time. His expanded wings and tail, glistening with white, and the buoyant gaiety of his action, arresting the eye, as his song most irresistibly does the ear, he sweeps round with enthusiastic ecstasy and mounts and descends as his song swells or dies awa. He bounds aloft with the celerity of an arrow, as if to recover or recall his very soul, which expired in the last elevated strain. He often deceives the sportsman, and sends him in search of birds that are not perhaps within miles of him, but whose notes he exactly imitates, even birds themselves are frequently imposed upon by this admirable mimic, and are decoyed by the fancied calls of their mates, or dive with precipitation into the depth of thickets at the scream of what they suppose to be the sparrow-hawk."