We recently received this question about mockingbirds: Any ideas on how to stop or deter a bully mockingbird who keeps guard over an entire feeding station and chases off every single bird who gets even remotely close?!
We’d like to mention that the following bird feeding suggestions for mockingbirds are suggestions based on our experience with deterring aggressive bird species. While mockingbirds are not a frequent topic of conversation around here, similar guidelines apply to deterring mockingbirds as when dealing with other aggressive birds. You may find the following tips to be useful, no matter which aggressive bird you may have visiting your yard. In our experience and in the experiences our customers have shared with us, we have found setting up a separate feeder in another corner of your yard with the aggressive bird’s preferred food seems to successfully deter these birds, while allowing you to enjoy your smaller songbirds in peace and quiet.
While we understand aggressive, territorial mockingbirds can be a frustration at feeders, there are ways to lure these medium-sized, undesirable birds away from your feeders. Instead of watching mockingbirds continue to chase away desirable songbirds, follow these three steps: add a diversion feeder, set up the new feeder 20 feet away from your other feeder and serve food mockingbirds like.
Let’s go a little more into detail for the best results. Using a diversion feeder is another way to distract aggressive birds. By attracting these larger birds to a separate area of your yard, you give all the smaller songbirds an opportunity to eat in peace and get the nutrients they need. By placing this diversion feeder 20 feet away from your other feeder, you’re making it difficult for this one mockingbird to guard two places at once. By making them choose which feeder to frequent, while offering their favorite foods, you’re creating an inviting environment for them, far from your other songbirds.
What specific food should you serve mockingbirds? Fruit, fruit and more fruit! Mockingbirds love fruit and eat it for a good portion of the year. You can plant fruit trees, like blackberries, hawthorn or mulberry bushes. Or you can serve a variety of food on a feeder, including apple peels, along with eggshells, raisins, a few mealworms, hulled sunflower seed, peanut hearts and suet. Serve these appealing foods in a ground or a pole-mounted platform feeder, like the Ground Platform & Clearview Roof or the Pavilion Post Feeder. When it comes to feeding mockingbirds, a variety of foods are going to help attract these birds to their own feeder. Since we’re talking about feeders, you may consider getting a bird feeder like the Duncraft Squirrel-Proof Selective, which has 1-1/2 inch wire caging that larger birds, like grackles and starlings, can’t enter.
Since mockingbirds remain aggressive until the end of breeding season, which can last for up to six weeks, we can respect their space by encouraging them to feed in a separate part of our yard. This way, we believe everyone is going to be happy until breeding season is over and all 2-3 of their broods have fledged. Let us know how these tips worked for you and add your story in the comments.
PRO TIP: Contact your local Audubon Center for specific tips on how to feed and care for birds in your area because they’re familiar with specific species. Visit Audubon’s website to find a local chapter near you. Happy Birding!
Sources and Interesting Links:
“Northern Mockingbird,” All About Birds, 2015. 19 Jan. 2016: <https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Mockingbird/lifehistory>.
“Northern Mockingbird,” The Cornell Lab’s Project FeederWatch. 19 Jan. 2016: <http://feederwatch.org/learn/common-feeder-birds/?__hstc=75100365.2884a02e9403ccbf73380ab503ea8109.1441026995282.145