State legislatures in the United States (US) often choose birds, flowers, and other official symbols for their states, and the state bird of Mississippi is the mockingbird. Since the 1920s, every state in the US has chosen an official state bird. Mockingbirds are native to Mississippi as well as other states, with males and females each having distinct characteristics. These birds love to dwell in the Mississippi magnolia trees, and are known for their ability to vocalize, mimic and sing up to 200 songs.
The official state bird of Mississippi was a favorite among the Mississippi Federation of Women's Clubs during the 1940s. This club initiated a campaign to have the state legislature select the mockingbird as the official state bird of Mississippi. The governor signed the legislation designating the mockingbird the official state bird in 1944.
Early spring is the natural breeding season for mockingbirds. This is when a mockingbird will choose its mate and make a nest from twigs and grass, typically near the edge of a forest. A brood will typically consist of four or five eggs, although it is unlikely for all of them to hatch. In most cases, the incubation period may be nearly two weeks. In many instances, mockingbird eggs will be eaten by predators, primarily snakes.
It is fairly common to find mockingbirds gathering around farmland during the cold months in Mississippi. In search of food, the state bird of Mississippi will often descend upon the farmers' crops. Fruits, seeds, and nuts are favorites of these birds, although the mockingbird will devour insects as well. Once spring has arrived, the males can be heard vocalizing and singing their melodious songs.
Mockingbirds got their name from their unique ability to mimic songs and vocalizations from various species of birds and insects. The males are typically stronger in vocalization and pitch, with females having a softer tone. The vocalization of mockingbirds will typically be heard at night.
These birds are gray, with black around the bill. Males and females are similar in appearance, making them difficult to differentiate. This bird is also noted for its long gray tail, with distinctive white border.
The mockingbird, known in scientific terms as mimus polyglyottos, is the official state bird of five American states. In addition to Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Texas have chosen this species as an official symbol. Texas adopted the mockingbird as its official state bird in 1927, before it became the state bird of Mississippi.