[CT Birds] Westport - Mockingbird???

Frank Mantlik mantlik at sbcglobal.net
Fri Mar 23 16:30:28 EDT 2012

To add to Greg's fine overview, many times over the years along the CT coast, I 
have seen what I assume is a migration of Northern Mockingbirds.  For several 
years at Manresa Is., Norwalk in late summer - autumn, I would see as many as 10 
or more of them flying in a flock in the same direction.
And twice this week, I have seen a "flock" of six Mockingbirds along the 
Stratford shoreline (Long Beach on one day, Stratford Point on another), where 
during the winter I'd be lucky to see just one on occasion.  (The Multiflora 
rose hips were eaten long ago).  It's almost as if these flocks just arrived 
from elsewhere.  I wonder if they are nocturnal migrants, and thus their 
migration is seldom seen and poorly understood.
And, for sure, they are singing energetically now.

Frank Mantlik

From: Greg Hanisek <ghanisek at rep-am.com>
To: "Grimm, Chris" <chris.grimm at globepequot.com>; ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org
Sent: Fri, March 23, 2012 4:07:48 PM
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Westport - Mockingbird???

I think many birders would agree with Bill Yule's puzzled response. Northern 
Mockingbirds definitely occur year-round in Connecticut, so trying to zero in on 
arrival dates is probably somewhat misleading. Noting when they start singing 
might be a more useful gauge of their seasonal activity.

That said, I find the movements of mockingbirds among the most difficult to 
assess of all our local species. They nest in my neighborhood, but sparsely and 
inconsistently from year to year, with unpredictable (at least for me) periods 
of disappearance. There are several things at play here:

1/ Mockingbirds historically occupied a more southerly range than they do now, 
so birds north of say sourthern New Jersey have a history of occupancy of their 
current range that is short compared to most other breeding species. Any 
seasonal movements they undertake are probably in the formative stages,

2/ Mockingbirds are known to occupy winter, as well as breeding, territories. 
They set up shop in winter around good food supplies, such as multiflora rose 
tangles with their nice little rose hips. So if your neighborhood mocker 
disappears in winter, it may very well be somewhere else not too far away with 
better food. Then it will make a spring appearance if it "likes" your breeding 

3/ Mockingbirds do migrate to some degree, at least the most northerly ones do. 
I'm a regular at the Lighthouse Point hawk watch and have seen mockingbirds 
moving through there with a very convincing migratory profile - high, direct and 
westward (the way most southbound coastal migrants move in CT in fall because of 
our east-west coastline). But we don't see many. Where are those birds from? 
Where are they going? How far? Do any that nest in CT migrate? Are any of our 
wintering birds from farther north? I'd love to know. The first sentence of the 
migration section for this species in Birds of North America Online is a 
succinct: "Not well understood." However, it also notes that banding has 
documented movements up to c 500 miles.

Put that all together and you have a common bird about which we could know a lot 
more than we do.

Greg Hanisek

----- Original Message ----- From: "Grimm, Chris" <chris.grimm at globepequot.com>
To: <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
Sent: Friday, March 23, 2012 11:43 AM
Subject: [CT Birds] Westport - Mockingbird???

> I associate Mockingbirds with late-Spring and Summer.  While I haven't
> seen it, I have heard it the last three nights.  Westport, near the
> corner of Post Road and South Maple Avenue.
> Anyone else seen/heard them yet?  Or has nobody posted about them
> because everyone is seeing and hearing them?
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