When, which was most all the time, he was in a frame of mind to warn off any potential rivals within earshot, he used his tree as a bully pulpit. For some reason he didn’t fly the 100 feet to the top but instead hopped and fluttered from branch to higher branch, spiraling ‘round and ‘round until he reached the summit, no doubt muttering to himself all the way up, rehearsing the arias he was going to vocalize to warn off his rivals. Arrived at the highest perch, and not one branch lower, he would issue his challenge.
Here’s the thing, He was not so much mimicking other bird’s songs—although a person might pick out a copycat melody now and then. Rather, it seemed to me, he composed and tested his own stuff, originals, either drawing them up from memory, or inventing and delivering them on the spot as he went along.. In this sense, Maestrobird might be a better name for the species. His recitals were interminable tours de force, melodious filibusters consisting of endless different phrases strung one after another, some practiced, some experimental, with sometimes a slight hesitation before using a new phrase, like reviewing the notes and asking himself, “Should I use this one or not? Is it up to my standards? Will it put them in their place? Yeah, go for i!”
Even the tallest of tall Norfolk pines wasn’t sufficiently high enough to make certain his message was getting across. Once he worked himself up to a certain fevered pitch, he orbited himself skyward, bursting into the air eight or ten feet higher, his white wing bars flashing like semaphores. Reaching perihelion, he floated back down to the tree, burbling out new tunes the whole while. Lynn’s take on mockingbirds and the satisfying variety of their songs: “If you’ve got a mockingbird, you don’t need any others.“
R T WALLEN