Mockingbirds are the quintessential example of Darwinian evolution and were in fact Charles Darwin’s primary inspiration that led to his studies of evolution.
Evolutionary theory for some time seemed to point to the fact that mockingbird songs worked to attract mates, similar to the way a peacock’s feathers attract peahens. Mockingbirds, however, are monogamous birds, unlike peacocks, and both males and females sing the varied songs of their neighbors.
Different species of mockingbirds have purportedly mimicked everything from the songs of other birds, to machines, and even songs written by humans. Evidently, this proves that mockingbirds aren’t creatures of habit, even though the mimicry would seem to prove otherwise.
Evidently, songbirds learn their styles much in the same way a human child learns language. First, babbling, then practicing, until they are able to formulate their own songs. Most song birds stop, however, once they have perfected their song.
Mockingbirds, on the other hand, continue to learn and develop new sounds and songs through the duration of their lives, which seems to make the mockingbird a lover of learning new things. This skill makes it able to continuously adapt to its surroundings as well, which is another case of survival skills being put to the ultimate test.
Story Teller: The Berkley Daily Planet.
Source: “Mockingbird Jazz: The Evolutionary Roots of Bird Song,”
Story Researcher: This post was contributed by Holly McCarthy, who writes on the subject of an online university. She invites your feedback at hollymccarthy12 at gmail dot com
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