Tuesday, October 9, 2012


As I was finishing up with my romp with the dogs this morning, I thought of the lyrics to this old song:

Mockingbird Hill

When the sun in the morning
 Peeps over the hill,
 And kisses the roses 'round my windowsill
 Then my heart fills with gladness
 When I hear the trill
 Of the birds in the treetops on Mockin' Bird Hill

Tra-la-la, twiddly-dee-dee
 It gives me a thrill
 To wake up in the morning to the mockingbird's trill
 Tra-la-la, twiddly-dee-dee
 There's peace and goodwill
 You're welcome as the flowers on Mockin' Bird Hill

When it's late in the evening,
 I climb up the hill
 And survey all my kingdom while everything's still
 Only me and the sky -- and an old whippoorwill
 Singin' songs in the twilight on Mockin' Bird Hill

Credit: Wikipedia

Above and around me were mockingbirds, their loud calls interspersed with their sweet song, It was diffficult to tell if they were playing or fighting as they swooped down and up, playing chase through the sky and into the treetops.

I have a soft spot in my heart for these birds because I love their song so much, which is especially nice when it’s at its loudest: twilight and the early morning and sometimes during the full moon. And they sing year round. What could be more lovely?

American singer Patti Page in the 1950s. She is 84 years old. Credit: Wikipedia

The other reason is because I have fond memories of being a small child and hearing this song on the radio. How safe and secure we felt in the security of our homes with parents to watch over us, to hear my mother hum along to the radio tune. As I listened to Patti Page at the YouTube link, I actually started crying because the sound was so sweet, but I also cried because time has passed so quickly and I was remembering mother when she was young. The cry did me good; I feel better now. But I had my moment.

These birds, the Northern Mockingbird (there are other varieties), are year ‘round residents here. The begin nesting in February and are known for aggressively defending their nests and surrounding area against other birds and animals. When a predator is persistent, mockingbirds from neighboring territories, summoned by a distinct call, may join the attack. Other birds may gather to watch as the mockingbirds harass the intruder. 

In addition to harassing domestic cats and dogs they consider a threat, it is not unheard of for mockingbirds to target humans, and I myself was once a target, when I ventured to close to their nest (I supposed). They appear to be absolutely unafraid and it is reported they will attack much larger birds, even hawks.

Mockingbird facts:

  • A given bird may have 30, 40 or even 200 songs in its repertoire, including other bird songs, insect and amphibian sounds, and even the occasional mechanical noise.
  • Is the state bird of Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas.
  • Features in the title and central metaphor of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. In that novel, mockingbirds are portrayed as innocent and generous, and two of the major characters, Atticus Finch and Miss Maudie, say it is a sin to kill a mockingbird because "they don't do one thing for us but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corn cribs  they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.”
  • The traditional American lullaby "Hush Little Baby" has been recorded in numerous musical styles. The lyrics refer to Northern Mockingbirds once being popular as pets, and begin:  Hush little baby, don't say a word, Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird. And if that mockingbird don't sing, Mama's gonna buy you a diamond ring.
  • "Listen to the Mocking Bird" is a classic American folk song.
  • President Thomas Jefferson had a pet mockingbird named Dick.
  • The Northern Mockingbird is likely to be the avian subject of Frederick Delius' choral work, 'Sea Drift'. This work of loneliness, loss and death describes a young boy watching a pair of birds at nest the realizing that the male is now alone, awaiting the return of his mate. 
You can listen to Patti Page sing Mockingbird Hill if you wish.

I will leave you today with a BIG laugh on me. I had the song on my brain so went to the piano in the midst of typing out my blog, as I am able to play songs "by ear." I had no trouble playing this tune, but when I returned to the keyboard and attempted to type, I was trying to play the piano  on my computer keyboard!! Oh my, what does this mean?????


  1. Love, love this post! Brings back so many memories. I too still play the tune on the piano and think of the words often, When I went to You Tube, listed to a whole album of Patti Page and it was bittersweet! Such good, wonderful music of the past makes you feel so good but sad by what has replaced it. I love the mockingbird ahd enjoy watching them in my yard,
    Thanks and enjoyed this very much.

  2. The word Mockingbird always takes me back in time to that film "To kill a mockingbird",I watched it again last month still as beautiful,and poignant as it was when first made.Ida

  3. What a lovely post...now I can think of music when I think of Mockingbirds... : )

  4. Loved to hear Patti Page sing that song ! Yes, it does take me back a few years.. time doesn't stand still..

  5. Oh, I remember when that song was popular. I played the link, and of course, got a lump in the throat! Music has such a powerful way of taking us to another time and place, back to childhood and a more innocent time. Thank you for a lovely post, Sanda!

  6. Hello Sanda

    How beautiful and such splendid birds they are.

    I am now recalling my mother singing that song too as she went about her daily chores.

    A fond memory


  7. Sanda, thanks for reminding us of those wonderful bygone days!! Loved the story. Love the spirit of a mockingbird - I, too, have been on the receiving end of their rant! The mention of that song and Patti Page took me back to when I would "pantomine" that song by her when I was a mere 18-19 yr old.:-) Thanks!!!

  8. Sissy, I'm sure it brought back the same memories for you as it did for me! Patti Page was a great singer.

    Ida, what a great movie To Kill a Mockingbird was/is. I watch it whenever I see it's going to be on TV. Did you know that Harper Lee, the author of the book, was an Alabamian, and is still alive? Sadly, her masterpiece novel was the only book she ever published.

    MrsLittleJeans, what a lovely piece of music that was.

    Darry, thanks for your comment! Music was so simple and wonderful back then!

    Patricia, thanks, and glad the song brought back memories for you as well. A lump in the throat is OK from time to time!

    Helen, don't we love the memories of the old days when times were less complicated. Or did it just seem so? I'm sure our parents thought the times even then were complicated.

    Areeda, what a memory that song must bring back for you!! I wonder if the Nashville TV station has the tapes of your pantomime performances? Or perhaps you have them? I would dearly LOVE to see them. How special that was seeing our cousin on TV each Saturday afternoon. Good times!!

  9. Mockingbird - we don´t have those over here naturally.
    Probably I have heard one or two of the songs you mentioned.
    The bird looks so innocent and cute.

    1. The mockingbird songs are so sweet == and they have so many! They can be quite "mean" if their nests are threatened. I think they are a very pretty bird. How often we are prone not to listen and hear the bird songs when we are outdoors, but life would be so different without them.


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