Friday, October 27, 2023

Mockingbird, Starling & Merlin App

I'm always looking for new places around town to check out. You just never know if a spot is going to be any good for birding unless you try it. There was quite a bit of sparrow habitat in the land near these solar panels, so I gave it a try. if you look closely, there is a bird set on top of the solar panel. 
A lot of birders dislike European Starling because they're not native. I actually think they are visually appealing when the sun is shining on them. They can imitate certain birds and make a whole slew of sounds that are interesting and hard to figure out. Some have been known to imitate the human voice as well.
The Northern Mockingbird has to be when it comes to imitating other birds though. When they are on a roll, they can imitate multitudes of birds in rapid-fire fashion! Although starlings and mockingbirds are in different families of bird species, they both imitate birds. 

A lot of people have been using the Merlin identification app. It picks up sounds of birds and shows you what birds are around. It works pretty well, if you stand still quietly but sometimes it displays a rare bird that you have to wonder about. I believe it can make mistakes, so it shouldn't be used as the sole source of bird identification. It can be a nice tool, however, in helping to let you know what potential species might be in the area. 

When I was out on this particular day, the Merlin App showed that there was a Gray-cheeked Thrush nearby which would be a rare bird sighting in this area. Unlikely, but it's always worth looking. Anyway, I didn't find one. 

This led me to a question. Did the mockingbird or starling imitate the Gray-cheeked Thrush and set off the merlin Alert? I guess I'll never know but it is an interesting possibility.

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