Northern Mockingbird (Photo of the week)

A northern mockingbird perches atop a bush filled with berries
A northern mockingbird perches atop a bush filled with berries. Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the EOS-7D. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3: 1/2500 sec. at f/5.6

Recently I photographed a Northern Mockingbird perched on a berry bush. It appeared as if he was gorging himself on berries, stuffing one after another into his mouth. Soon after this feast, he flew from the bush to a nearby tree. He began working his mouth up and down, and to my surprise, a berry emerged from his mouth and into his beak, as seen in the photo below. After he ate one berry, he again worked his beak up and down, and a second berry emerged.

A northern mockingbird perches on a small branch with a berry in its mouth
A northern mockingbird perches on a small branch with a berry in its mouth. Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the EOS-7D. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 1/3: 1/1250 sec. at f/5.6

I realized that when I first saw the mockingbird chowing down on berries, he was actually stuffing them into his mouth for later consumption. I couldn’t find any notes about this behavior online, but it was quite a sight to see berry after berry magically appear in his beak. However, not every berry worked out so successfully, as can be seen in the photo below.

A northern mockingbird drops a berry as it tries to eat it
A northern mockingbird drops a berry as it tries to eat it. Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the EOS-7D. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 1/3: 1/1600 sec. at f/5.6
  • Nagarkot247

    Great sequence, Hank! I’ve never seen such an event captured on film.