This Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos), is right at home on this Cactus apple (Opuntia engelmannii). If I had not looked this cactus up at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center database, I would have said it was a “prickly pear.” This also would be correct – all species in the Opuntia genus are called prickly pear. This cactus in native to the southwestern states of America.
The mockingbird is the state bird of Texas, and one of my favorite singers.
Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002; NatureServe, 2003; WILDSPACETM 2002
Global Range Comments: Resident regularly from northern California and eastern Oregon to South Dakota, northern Ohio, and southern New England (sporatically [sic] or locally north to southern Canada), south to southern Baja California, southern Mexico, Gulf Coast, southern Florida, and western West Indies (including Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands). First known successful nesting in British Columbia occurred in 1993 (MacKenzie et al. 1995, Canadian Field-Naturalist 109:260). Introduced and established in Hawaii, Bermuda.1 Acknowledgement2
As you can see by the range map for the Northern Mockingbird, just about everyone in the U.S. and Mexico has the opportunity to see this bird and hear it singing its heart out. Mockingbirds borrow songs from other birds, mimicking their calls.
I don’t usually post pictures that have any sign of man-made items – but I will make an exception. I want to share another picture of the Cactus apple so that you can get an idea of the size. I’ll leave you with a picture that includes a bit of the parking lot at the Heard in McKinney, TX. I didn’t have to go far for my first picture of the day…about 10ft!
- Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA. ↩
- Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
“Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy – Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International – CABS, World Wildlife Fund – US, and Environment Canada – WILDSPACE.” ↩