Tennessee is the 16th most populated state in the US and the 36th biggest state in terms of area. Because of the variety of its terrains and landscapes, Tennessee is home to a wide variety of species. The raccoon is the official mammal of Tennessee, but what about the state bird?
The Northern Mockingbird (Mimus Polyglottos), which is the state bird of Tennessee, was chosen. On April 19, 1933, it was declared the official bird of Tennessee. This medium-sized, long-tailed bird has long legs and is quite popular in the US. During the winter, this bird frequently settles in southern states.
Tennessee State Birds
There are two state birds of Tennessee. The Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos), the first, received its designation in 1933. The mockingbird has a broad range in the United States thanks to its distinctive song and capacity for mimicry of other songbirds and noises.
The University of Texas at Austin points out that in addition to being mentioned in numerous songs, literature, and television programs, the mockingbird is also the official bird of four additional southern states: Arkansas, Texas, Florida, and Mississippi.
Northern Mockingbirds are around 10 inches long, predominantly grey, with white underparts and wing margins. The intelligence of mockingbirds is well known, and they can imitate the songs of roughly 50 different species of birds.
They also replicate sounds made by dogs and other animals, which are not birds. Mockingbirds frequently sing throughout the day and into the evening, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
The Northern Bobwhite Quail (Colinus virginianus), which is Tennessee’s official game bird, is the second state bird of the state. The bobwhite, commonly known as the partridge, was designated in 1987. The Northern Bobwhite is a tiny bird that blends in with grasslands because to its brown and white feathers.
According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the bobwhite population has been declining over the past 50 years as a result of habitat degradation.
Tennessee State Bird Facts
Let’s discover some fascinating information about Tennessee’s official state bird.
Around February, mockingbirds begin singing, and they cease around August. In reality, they perform twice a year. With their songs playing from September to November, the second time is a little bit shorter. Based on the season, they have prepared different tunes. They sing a different set of songs in the spring than they do in the fall.
A Northern Mockingbird’s lifecycle includes learning a number of tunes. They get more perceptive to noises as they become older. Approximately 200 songs may be learned by an adult male mockingbird, according to research.
The wings of the Northern Mockingbird are extended. The white parts of their wings are visible when they partially or fully open them. We don’t know why they act in this way. Some believe it’s to shock its prey, which might not be expecting the quick wing display.
It is unclear if this is the cause, but, if other mockingbird species occasionally perform the same thing while lacking the white component.
Why is the Northern Mockingbird the state bird for Tennessee?
The state of Tennessee’s government collaborated with the Tennessee Ornithological Society and its Garden Clubs to inform inhabitants on the state’s birds.
Following this educational effort, the state organized a vote for the general population to make a decision. The legislature adopted Tennessee Senate Joint Resolution No. 51, designating the Northern Mockingbird as the state bird in response to their decision.
Different Types of Wild Blue Jay Birds
The blue jay is sometimes referred to be the avian kingdom’s thief. They have a reputation for robbing nests and sometimes preying on the smaller, helpless birds that live there.
Despite this, blue jays are adored by bird watchers due to their distinctive vivid blue feathering and diverse variety of bird sounds. In North America, the blue jay inhabits the borders of forests.
Northern Blue Jay
The Colorado Rocky Mountains in the west are where one may find the northern blue jay. These medium-sized birds feature the well-known blue feathers, a black collar, a little crest on their heads, and white patches on its wings and tail.
The northern blue jay is a skilled mimic and frequently imitates crow and hawk cries. The northern blue jay’s food mostly consists of seeds, but it also contains worms, insects, bird eggs, and young birds.
Coastal Blue Jay
The brightest blue feathers of all the blue jay subspecies belong to the coastal blue jay, a medium-sized bird that is just somewhat bigger than the northern blue jay.
These distinctive physical attributes go along with the traditional blue jay characteristics, such as the white dots on the tail and wings and the black line across the neck that resembles a black necklace.
Large pine and oak trees are the homes of the coastal blue jay, which builds loosely packed nests of of twigs, leaves, and bark. In fact, it has been observed that this blue jay builds its nest out of rags and paper.
Florida Blue Jay
The smallest blue jay subspecies is the Florida blue jay. They have the shortest wings and tail among the subspecies, and their blue feathers are also among the dullest of the bunch. The distinctive crest and white patches on the wings and tail of a blue jay are present on the Florida blue jay.
The Florida Peninsula is where this blue jay is primarily found, hence its name. Its primary food sources are acorns, beechnuts, and chestnuts (which are often hidden under leaves and in trees to be eaten later). The balance of the diet consists of tiny animals like insects, birds, and even rodents.
How do these birds behave?
The songs of the mockingbird are misunderstood. People frequently believe when they are polled that birds just sing imitations of other songs, however this is only 10% of their repertory. Mockingbirds are sophisticated birds that can not only imitate other birds’ songs but also create their own.
Since the typical mockingbird sings more than 200 melodies, this suggests that only roughly 20 of its repertoire is composed by other birds, while the remaining 180 were, in a sense, written by the bird itself. These learned birds are also knowledgeable of canines and human music, including pianos and other instruments.
The bird has the ability to mimic city sounds like gates and sirens. The mockingbird listens to the sound several times before deciding whether to turn it into a song. They will create an own song based on the sound if, after they have imitated it, it still sounds like the bird.
The mockingbird hangs together with night owls, in contrast to many other birds who sing in the early morning. Mockingbirds sing in the middle of the night. The birds like to perform concerts under the moonlight in the spring.
A mockingbird won’t play the same mix for you either. Every day, these birds create a fresh soundtrack. This medley may contain all or a portion of its repertoire. If you can’t see the mockingbird performing, you could think the song belongs to another bird. Each bird’s medley is unique since every bird creates its own tunes.
Mockingbirds go out. They sing to attract possible partners. They date a variety of birds until they find the ideal one, at which point they become partners. Because this species is monogamous and lifelong bonded, you may compare it to marriage.
They collaborate to construct a nest of of twigs, grass, sticks, and leaves. The birds begin to reproduce after constructing their habitat. They rear their young birds in the same ways.
What Makes the State Bird of Tennessee Unusual?
The state bird of Tennessee has a reputation for having a powerful voice. On certain days, it may seem as though several birds are having a blast in your backyard. But if you step outside, you’ll see that there is just one offender.
The sounds of other birds, amphibians, and even a few mechanical noises may be imitated by mockingbirds. They like mimicking different noises and can do it nonstop all day. Despite possessing a playful side, they are also regarded as a violent animal when it comes to protecting their territory.
What does the state bird of Tennessee look like?
The Northern Mockingbird’s females are smaller than their male counterparts. Other than having a grey chest and upper area and a contrasting but complementing light gray or white tint on their stomach sections, both genders resemble each other. These birds’ beak are all black, with brown at the base.
These birds are tall and have a large wingspan, although they are light in weight. They often reach weights of 1.4 to 2.0 ounces. The Northern Mockingbird has a wingspan of 12 to 15 inches and measures eight to eleven inches from head to tail.
A mockingbird cannot be kept as a pet in the US since doing so significantly reduces its lifetime. A mockingbird may live for 80 years in the wild, but in captivity, they can only last for 25 years.
It is against the law to “pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, try to take, catch or kill, possess… at any time, or in any manner, any migratory bird… or any portion, nest, or egg of any such bird,” according to Title 16 of the United States Code (sections 703 and 707a).
The oldest known live Northern mockingbird in Tennessee is 14 years and 10 months old; perhaps this can be explained by their requirement for suburban lifestyle.
North America is home to the Northern Mockingbird. Like all other states in North America, Tennessee frequently receives visits from its official bird.
If you have a feeder set up or have your favorite fruits ready, Northern Mockingbirds will show up in your backyard. Even if they don’t find it entertaining, they could still enjoy waking you up with the song of the particular bird species they have decided to impersonate for the day.