Among American birds, the mocking bird stands high in public estimation. The vocal powers of this plain-plumaged favorite are extraordinary, no other species approaching it as a mimic, except its near relative, the cat bird. Its powers of imitation are wonderfully varied and perfect, and it is inclined to show them as well in captivity as in freedom. Its own song is full, bold, and exceedingly varied, and it has the faculty in its native bush of repeating the songs of all its feathered neighbors as exactly as an echo. In captivity it can be taught a long air by its master, and will imitate the quavering trill of the canary and the fluting whistle of the redbird with such fine execution as to silence these expert singers. It can imitate many less musical sounds, will whistle for the dog, squeal like a hurt chicken, bark, mew, creak like the wheelbarrow, and vary its notes endlessly. A well-trained mocker is a wonder, though at times it may become an annoyance from its endless vivacity.

The natural food of the mocking bird consists of insects, fruit and berries, and a few insects or meal worms should be added to its daily diet, which may consist of what is called fig-dust - finely-grained oats mixed into a stiff dough with milk and water. Carrot and boiled potato may be given alternately, with a little egg-food. Gravel and water, of course, are needed by all birds.