||Mimus Polyglottos is a realtime interactive composition for electronically generated sounds
and Mockingbird. The final recording represents an initial encounter between the bird and
the stimulus. It was recorded outdoors in Balboa Park, San Diego, during July, 1976. The
composition was initially stimulated by a fascination with the Mockingbirds extraordinary
ability to mimic not only the calls of other birds, but also a variety of environmental sounds.
Our interest was not only in seeing how we could push that ability in terms of the actual
sounds which the bird could mimic, but more significantly to generate a linguistic interaction.
Initial research was directed toward observation of the general characteristics of Mockingbird
song and specifically its imitating ability. Attempts to record singing during the day proved
difficult because of incessant territorial movement and aggressive behavior induced by the
observers presence. By focusing our activities towards late night, when the birds remain
more stationary, we achieved recordings of sufficient fidelity for further analysis.
During this initial phase of activity we became interested in utilizing recorded song as a direct
stimulus and began playback of these recordings into the birds environment. Our intention
was both to gain more information concerning the mechanism of imitating through a more
controlled situation and also to simplify the activity of locating birds not otherwise singing.
This experimentation provided verification that stimulation of Mockingbirds through a direct
feedback of recorded song was possible.