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What Is Mississippi’s State Bird? How Was It Decided?

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northern mockingbird

Known for its famous geographic regions like the Mississippi River and coastline bordering the Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi is a southern setting with a variety of landscapes. Whether you’re a resident of the Magnolia State or just stopping in, it’s always a pleasure to learn what represents the state. If you were wondering what the state bird was, that would be the Northern mockingbird. We’ll go in-depth and show you why this species was chosen as Mississippi’s state bird below, in addition to some bonus information about them! 

Why Did Mississippi Choose the Northern Mockingbird as Its State Bird?

The government of Mississippi teamed up with the Women’s Federated Club to pick the state bird, and they went for the Northern mockingbird due to how prevalent they are within the region. They can be found in every region in the state, and it would be difficult not to spot them.

northern mockingbird
Image By: MOHANN, Pixabay

When Did Mississippi Choose the Northern Mockingbird as its State Bird?

Although they had already declared their independence over a hundred years earlier during the winter of 1817, Mississippi decided on the mockingbird as its state bird back in February 1944.

What Is a Northern Mockingbird?

The Northern mockingbird is an extremely prolific bird with gray, white, and brown plumage in addition to stern, yellow eyes. It’s a member of the Mimidae family, and the scientific name for the mockingbird is Mimus polyglottos. The most notable and renowned attribute of this bird is its ability to mimic the calls of other birds, hence the name mockingbird. Males of this species have been studied by scientists extensively, and according to their research, they found that they’re able to copy nearly 200 individual songs that other birds have sang. This can sometimes make it a challenge to identify them through sound, as they change up their songs often and can be mistaken for other birds.

Northern mockingbirds live in every nook and cranny of the contiguous United States. They frequently live in towns or populated areas, and they are everywhere around us. However, they nest in bushes, so you can search your lawn or local park to see where they congregate. As an omnivorous bird, the species eats a wide variety of foods such as insects, fruits, seeds, and fish.

northern mockingbird
Image By: Steve Byland, Shutterstock

What Other States Share the Northern Mockingbird as Their Official Bird?

Mississippi isn’t the only southern state in America to have the mockingbird as its representative species. In fact, there are five different states that adore this aerial critter: Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas. It’s one of the most common birds chosen to represent states in the U.S!

Featured Image Credit: Bishnu Sarangi, Pixabay

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.