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Welcome to the world of the Vincent D'Onofrio obsessed - and a bit of real life thrown in.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Talented Tweeter

A few mornings ago, as I lay in bed in the early hours after the dawn chorus, I heard one of these going off:

It slowly dawned on me that it was far too quiet, and far too irregular and intermittent, to actually be a burglar alarm. It was then that I knew we had an avian mimic. I had a pretty good idea of what it might be.

In between bursts of being an alarm, it decided it was a great tit:

It was close, but you could just discern the difference. Great tits sound like a squeaky bicycle pump.
Then I realised that the song in between these impersonations was that of a blackbird:
Had I been wrong all along? Could blackbirds mimic?
Yesterday I stepped out into the garden, and suddenly realised that a blackbird was singing on next door's chimney. I turned round to look, and saw what I'd suspected was the culprit all along:

A starling was up there doing his thing. Years ago these clever little irridescent birds used to send people scampering indoors to answer their trimphones, which warbled distinctively. The starlings got them down to a T.
I haven't heard a mimic for a long time now. I just hope this one stays away from the predators long enough to pass on its skills to a few generations of young.


judith said...

I know what you mean about the phone's. Many a time in the past have I heard a phone ring, gone to answer it to find it was a bird doing the 'ring'!

JoJo said...

What in the world is a trimphone?

OK I have to do the immature "tee hee" at Great Tit. Someone has to, so it might as well be me. lmao :D

SnarkAngel said...

Brings back great memories of bird watching with my grandmother as a child.

Eliza said...

As just about the only birds we see are magpies I don't suppose I'll get to hear an 'avian mimic' anytime soon. When we lived in the old house we had more variety and there was one that did a passable imitation of a neighbours car alarm :-)

val said...

Actually, Eliza, magpies are excellent mimics - they can even talk if raised by humans.

JoJo, a trimphone was all the rage 30 years ago. The receiver went top to bottom rather than side to side, and they had a warble for a ring tone.

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