Why is the mocking-bird so called?

Because, in addition to the fulness and melody of his original notes, he has the faculty of imitating the notes of all other birds, from the humming-bird to the eagle. In measure and accent he faithfully follows his originals, while in force and sweetness of expression he greatly improves upon them. A byestander might suppose that the whole feathered tribes had assembled together on a trial of skill, each striving to produce his utmost effect, so perfect are his imitations. He often deceives the sportsman, and even birds themselves are sometimes imposed upon by this admirable music. In confinement he loses little of the power or energy of his song. He whistles for the dog : Caesar starts up, wags his tale, and runs to meet his master. He cries like a hurt chicken, and the hen hurries about, with feathers on end, to protect her injured brood. He repeats the tune taught him, though it be of considerable length, with great accuracy. He runs over the notes of the canary, and of the red-bird, with such superior execution and effect, that the mortified songsters confess his triumph by their silence. His fondness for variety some suppose to injure his song. His imitations of the brown thrush are often interrupted by the crowing of cocks; and his exquisite warblings after the blue-bird, are mingled with the screaming of swallows, or the cackling of hens. During moonlight, both in the wild and tame state, he sings the whole night long. The hunters, in their night excursions, know that the moon is rising the instant they begin to hear his delightful solo. - Rennie.

Mr. Southey, in his notes to Madoc, says, " A negress was once heard to exclaim, ' Please God Almighty, how sweet that mocking-bird sing! he never tire.' By day and night it sings alike ; when weary of mocking others, the bird takes up its own natural strain, and so joyous a creature is it, that it will jump and dance to its own music. This bird is perfectly domestic, the Americans holding it sacred. Would that we had more of these humane prejudices in England, if that word may be applied to a feeling so good in itself, and in its tendency."