How long can a mockingbird's song be?

This morning, around 5:15, I was presented with a delightful gift: a mockingbird (or so I presume) perched near my urban window, and sang a joyous and exuberant song that must surely be the finest birdsong ever. Dude made the most exotic and delicious sounds, a geometric expansion of warbles and trills.

But what blew me away even further is that he sang for at least twenty minutes, and never once repeated himself.

Is that common?

Was my impression correct, that at least part of this song was above the range of human hearing?

How long? In my experience, fucking forever.

Be happy if a mockingbird is a rare visitor. I had one pick the TV antenna on my neighbor’s house as his perch, and proceeded to screech away, nearly 24/7, for weeks on end.

Northern Mockingbirds have an extremely large and varied repertoire of song phrases, in part because they imitate other birds (not to mention other noises in the environment like car alarms). Individual males may have 50-200 song types, and more than 1,500 song types have been identified. During courtship they are extremely persistent singers, often singing at night, and bouts can go on for more than 8 hours. And yes, some of the frequencies in the call are above the range of human hearing.

PS. An even more amazing songster/mimic isLawrence’s Thrush, of Amazonia.

Crank up your volume and give this a listen:

Amazing! Bird sounds from the lyre bird - David Attenborough - BBC wildlife

I’ve heard this, it’s pretty hiliarious. I heard one last week that I’d swear was imitating a croaking frog.

I heard of a starling that used to imitate a ringing telephone. It drove everyone in the nearby house crazy.

Preferably no more than like 3:40, or they’ll never get any radio airplay!

Do they ever imitate ice cream vans? Now that could be really frustrating.

In my childhood we had one that hung out in our backyard that would do a screen door slamming (our back door’s wooden screen door, that exact noise).

Since somebody else has already linked to the lyrebird, I’ll mention that I heard once of an outdoor performance of Peter and the Wolf where a mockingbird mimicked the entire flute part. Ironic since, of course, the flute in that piece is meant to represent a mockingbird.

Mockingbirds are quite smart.

At Florida Field, the U of Florida’s football stadium, I would bike by it most every day, and sometimes would hear a mocker imitating a referee’s whistle.

A mockingbird imitated me whistling for my dog back at me once. Never gotten one to mimic directly back at me since then, but it was cool to hear the exact sound I’d just produced coming from the top of a tree.

OP: twenty minutes? Pffft. Amateur. Those guys can go for hours on end with no discernible repetition. Lovely in mid-morning while you’re doing chores, not so lovely at 1 a.m. when you’re trying to friggin’ sleep.