[Ontbirds]Mockingbird nesting at Downsview

Pandora MacMillan pandora-sama at rogers.com
Mon Jun 27 18:10:34 EDT 2005

I work at the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) in the
Downsview head office complex in Toronto (Keele Street
just north of 401, at Wilson Avenue).

For a small grassy field in a busy urban area, the
area around the buildings has its fair share of bird
life.  A pair of kildeer have nested next to the
drainage ditch in the southeast quadrant for years. 
There are now three families of Canada geese raising
their goslings on the grassy field; the goose flock
grows a little each year.  There are also a number of
American goldfinches and red-winged blackbirds who
make it their home.

And since last year, the clown prince has presided
over all, Mr. Mockingbird, gleefully perched atop the
light on the highest hydro pole near the Keele Street
entrance.  Each morning he playfully greets ministry
employees with his repertoire, everything from robin
to blue jay to kildeer to goldfinch to meadowlark to
starling to pewee, to a whole bunch of calls I can't
identify, a travelogue in song to his winter migration
down south.

If you aren't at the right angle, he is too high for
you to see him, but if you peer at the top of the
hydro pole, the grey and white jokester leaps ten feet
straight up into the air, almost like a
jack-in-the-box, singing the whole time, and then,
flapping with his white elbow wing patches, he
parachutes himself down to his pole-top perch again,
as if to say, "Ha ha! It's me! Fooled you again!" 

I know of other birds who can do imitations (like his
cousin the Catbird, who is a lot more common in
Southern Ontario), but I know of no other bird who
gives such a display of athletic flying prowess and
enjoys showing off as much as the mockingbird.

This mockingbird enjoys proudly patrolling his
territory with wide swoops to all the far four corners
of the property, singing exuberantly the whole way. 
The Mockingbird of MTO never fails to put a smile on
my face in the morning.  I hope he comes back every

Pandora MacMillan

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