The mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) is one of our most common songbirds, as well as the state bird of Texas. They are quite accustomed to people and will sometimes allow a close approach. More often, they are seen perched in a highly visible location while singing. They take advantage of grass mowing to catch insects that are flushed out of the vegetation, but much of their diet consists of berries and seeds. Mockingbirds are most famous for their imitative calls, which include the songs of other birds as well as various noises from the environment. In the early spring, the birds sing almost constantly, even beginning long before dawn. The songs are not just art for art's sake, of course, but part of the territorial display that peaks during nesting time. The birds are also known for fierce defense of their territory, frequently dive bombing other birds, as well as cats and dogs, that get too close.