Tuesday, April 05, 2011


Over the many years we’ve lived in Princeton, the spring, summer and fall seasons have been accompanied by the songs of the mockingbird. The northern mockingbird doesn’t imitate much, but it delights you with its seemingly inexhaustible repertoire. It sings a phrase or a sound three or more times. Then another phrase. Then another, and another, on and on in great variety.

2010 was the year of zero mockingbirds. I saw them nowhere. I heard them nowhere. I have no idea why.

Today, after my radio program, I listened to a particularly fine mockingbird on the university campus. It sang most phrases a whopping six times. When I tried to whistle its warning call, it lifted off its high tree and fluttered its wings at me. It showed me its raised tail (a striking characteristic of its profile) and sang on and on. Welcome back, mockingbird.

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