The Best Bird Feeder Plans Can Go Awry When You Have a Hungry Mockingbird


If you have put bird feeders in your yard so birds will return to your yard day after day, your plans may be foiled by a mockingbird.  These

The small but territorial brown and gray mockingbird stands vigilant watch from a tree's branch.

Eight Southern States Call the Mockingbird Their Own

beautiful birds have a lot of talents, but sharing is not one of them!

Mockingbirds are tremendously territorial; they will “invade” bird feeders and drive away other birds that had been frequenting your backyard feeder.

You have probably heard that mockingbirds will stay away from feeders with seed because they prefer berries, insects, suet, and worms.  But if you have a mockingbird in your yard, you have learned that they will eat just about anything, seeds or suet.  Mockingbirds have been known to try to drive away not only other birds, but dogs, cats, and even people.  Why keep them around when they drive other birds from your feeders?

Their ability to mimic other sounds is complemented by an aggressive nature that will help keep pests at bay.  You can even start to teach it a whistling tune, which it can pick up and repeat after a while.  You can also learn to recognize your specific mockingbird by its calls and imitations.  And perhaps the best reason for keeping him around: you can’t really get rid of him once he decides to stay.

A sketched illustration from the book, "The Backyard Bird Feeder's Bible" by Sally Roth showing a mockingbird feeder and its separation from other bird feeders in your yard

From "The Backyard Bird Feeder's Bible" see text below

If you want to get rid of a pest or stray, you take away that which initially attracted it.  This doesn’t work with mockingbirds because they will eat just about anything.  While they may prefer suet, they will take seed or whatever else you have put out for the birds. The best thing to do is to draw up a set of bird feeder plans for another spot in your yard.  Make it far away from the feeder that the mockingbird has taken over, and if you can, separate with an obstacle, like a hedge or tree.  This will become a refuge for other birds, while the mockingbird is left to his “territory.”

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