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Home > History > Thomas Jefferson's Pet Mockingbird

Thomas Jefferson's Pet Mockingbird

This article describes Thomas Jefferson's pet mockingbird and his love of nature.

Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, was known to have a pet mockingbird. The mockingbird, which is a type of songbird native to North America, was a common pet in the 18th century and was often kept for its singing ability. Jefferson's mockingbird was a special pet for him as it was a gift from his daughter, Martha Jefferson Randolph.

Jefferson's Mockingbird

According to historical records, Jefferson's pet mockingbird was known for its beautiful singing and was a source of pleasure for him. He often kept the bird in a cage in his study, and it would sing to him while he worked. The mockingbird was also known to have a friendly personality and would often sit on Jefferson's shoulder or perch on his finger.

A Symbol of Freedom

Jefferson also considered the mockingbird to be a symbol of freedom and democracy. In his book, "Notes on the State of Virginia," he wrote that the mockingbird was "the only bird which sings on the approach of the night." He believed that the mockingbird's ability to imitate the songs of other birds was a symbol of the freedom of speech and expression, which was a fundamental value of the American society.

A President and Bird Lover

Jefferson was known to be a lover of nature and animals, and he had a particular fondness for birds. He kept a variety of birds at his home, Monticello, including canaries, goldfinches, and parrots. He also had a love for ornithology, the study of birds, and had a collection of over 200 bird specimens in his home.


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