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Will a relocated aggressive Mockingbird return? (1 Viewer)

We have an extremely aggressive Northern Mockingbird who hangs out in our front and back yards this winter. We have spent vast amounts of time and money on extensive bird feeding stations, heated baths and native plants in order to support the local bird population, and at last we have seen a rise in the number of native birds after years of effort. At first we were quite happy to see the Mockingbird coming around, but unfortunately, within a few weeks the Mockingbird decided our entire lot is hers alone, and she terrorizes any other bird that comes anywhere near our yard. All of the bird species that used to come to our feeders daily have now disappeared, including the Blue Jays who used to be the most aggressive of the lot (but at least didn't chase off every bird who came near). We have a Baltimore Oriole who didn't migrate and we have gone to great lengths to help ensure her survival for this coming winter, including building her a platform, acquiring live mealworms, etc -- but now the Mockingbird won't let her come close and the Oriole has learned to come to the station before sunrise, have a quick bite, and fly off in a hurry without returning until the next morning. We fear the Oriole will not make it if this keeps up, and the native birds that we have finally been able to see return to our area are gone again.

I realize this isn't going to be a popular question. Please keep in mind I'm simply seeking information at this point. I'm half considering trapping and relocating the Mockingbird to a large park that has many native berry bushes and many nearby feeders, about 35 km (21 miles) away from here. Before I give it any more thought, my most pressing question is, will the Mockingbird simply fly back to my yard from that distance? I realize birds fly thousands of miles on migration but wonder if this situation is the same. Does anyone have any information on how it would work in cases like this? Any insights will be appreciated. Thanks very much.
 
Last edited:

Bird_Bill

Well-known member
Been my experience that mockingbirds dominating during the winter, disperse as weather and food availability improves.
I live more rural, than urban, so mockers show up infrequently
3 winters out of 19, I had mockers claiming the suet feeder, and only during cold cold temps and heavy snow cover.

I would only be guessing about relocating
Mockers are protected by law, Northern Mockingbird, , (Mimus polyglottos) are also native.
You might want to talk to local authorities.
 
Been my experience that mockingbirds dominating during the winter, disperse as weather and food availability improves.
I live more rural, than urban, so mockers show up infrequently
3 winters out of 19, I had mockers claiming the suet feeder, and only during cold cold temps and heavy snow cover.

I would only be guessing about relocating
Mockers are protected by law, Northern Mockingbird, , (Mimus polyglottos) are also native.
You might want to talk to local authorities.

Thanks so much @Bird_Bill -- very helpful.
 

jmepler

It's just a flesh wound.
Just the capture of a Northern Mockingbird would be a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Can you create separate feeding areas? Ideally one would not be visible from the other, opposite sides of your house for example.

I would not count on the bird moving on in the Spring. It is just as likely that it is staking out breeding territory.
 

birdmeister

Well-known member
United States
I have a somewhat similar mockingbird problem, however I agree with all that relocating the bird is not a good idea.

My yard has multiple fruiting trees and shrubs, and each year a pair of mockingbirds breeds in or around the yard. One bird stays for the winter, completely dominating all fruit sources. In recent years, when the fruit crop is not as good the mocker turns to the seed and suet feeders. During the very coldest weather, it chases all birds from the feeders and ground (except jays and Red-bellied Woodpeckers!).

Although it gets plenty frustrating, there should be a solution. The goal is to spread out the feeders enough so that it's too much energy to defend all of them. I move one feeder to the opposite side of the yard, and it works very well.

Perhaps you can put out a second feeder and observe the mocker. Find a location that is either fairly far or not visible from its favored perches.

Hope it works, and in my case the behavior stops within a few months when insects become active again. The mockingbird does help a good bit in terrorizing predatory crows in the breeding season!
 
Just the capture of a Northern Mockingbird would be a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Can you create separate feeding areas? Ideally one would not be visible from the other, opposite sides of your house for example.

I would not count on the bird moving on in the Spring. It is just as likely that it is staking out breeding territory.
Thanks @jmepler. I do have several feeding areas in the back and front yards and the Mockingbird just constantly defends front and back, particularly the back yard. She dive bombs every bird that comes near. (My property isn't huge; it's about 40' x 140' front to back. I'm in urban Toronto.) Oh boy I sure hope she's not going to stay for breeding. The bird feeding stations have been a major source of joy for us, and it's been fulfilling to see native species coming around after so many years of just House Sparrows! What a total drag that this Mockingbird has to be such a thorough bully!
 
Do you have a berry-laden bush or tree in your yard? The mockingbird could be defending that food source.
@Microtus, yes, this summer I planted maybe 9 winterberry shrubs, 4 of which are covered in berries at the moment, plus many more young berry shrubs that don't have fruit right now. Little could I have known that planting these native berries (with the intention of supporting native bugs and birds) would attract a tyrant who chases off all other birds. She really doesn't allow any bird to come near our property, front to back, so it's definitely not just one shrub she's defending. If this keeps up I may end up removing all of the berry shrubs as this whole thing defeats all the reasons I did all this planting. I live in the city so moving plant specimens to farther-away spots is not an option, alas. I despair to think what will happen when the serviceberries start fruiting! Thanks for the insight.
 
I have a somewhat similar mockingbird problem, however I agree with all that relocating the bird is not a good idea.

My yard has multiple fruiting trees and shrubs, and each year a pair of mockingbirds breeds in or around the yard. One bird stays for the winter, completely dominating all fruit sources. In recent years, when the fruit crop is not as good the mocker turns to the seed and suet feeders. During the very coldest weather, it chases all birds from the feeders and ground (except jays and Red-bellied Woodpeckers!).

Although it gets plenty frustrating, there should be a solution. The goal is to spread out the feeders enough so that it's too much energy to defend all of them. I move one feeder to the opposite side of the yard, and it works very well.

Perhaps you can put out a second feeder and observe the mocker. Find a location that is either fairly far or not visible from its favored perches.

Hope it works, and in my case the behavior stops within a few months when insects become active again. The mockingbird does help a good bit in terrorizing predatory crows in the breeding season!
Thanks so much, @birdmeister. These are really helpful observations and insights. I think this Mockingbird might be a particularly aggressive one, as she seems to have enough zeal to chase off any bird who comes near the front or back of my property. I have something like 16 feeders distributed over several areas -- nobody can go near them. (And the thing is she doesn't seem to eat from most of these feeders. She eats winterberries and sometimes peanuts.) I actually tried covering the winterberry shrubs in the back and took down most of the feeders back there for several days, and she still perched in a prominent spot and chased everyone off, while taking quick breaks to eat winterberries in the front yard.

It's good to read that your local Mockingbird chills out a little when the insects start appearing -- does this calm mean she doesn't breed near your yard?

Many thanks again for sharing this information.
 

birdmeister

Well-known member
United States
Thanks so much, @birdmeister. These are really helpful observations and insights. I think this Mockingbird might be a particularly aggressive one, as she seems to have enough zeal to chase off any bird who comes near the front or back of my property. I have something like 16 feeders distributed over several areas -- nobody can go near them. (And the thing is she doesn't seem to eat from most of these feeders. She eats winterberries and sometimes peanuts.) I actually tried covering the winterberry shrubs in the back and took down most of the feeders back there for several days, and she still perched in a prominent spot and chased everyone off, while taking quick breaks to eat winterberries in the front yard.

It's good to read that your local Mockingbird chills out a little when the insects start appearing -- does this calm mean she doesn't breed near your yard?

Many thanks again for sharing this information.
Wow, sounds like your mockingbird is a bit more nuts than mine! They are not normally seed eaters, but will take to feeders sometimes to search for seeds that have already been shelled (as well as suet, etc.).

Mine becomes a bit more aggressive again in summer when the serviceberries are up, chasing the waxwings away. They do breed in or very near the yard every year, but for much of the summer they share the lawn with the robins and get bullied a fair bit by the robins as well.
 

jmepler

It's just a flesh wound.
I had a mockingbird that nested in my yard. It vigorously defended a serviceberry bush the as the berries grew. As soon as they were ripe, a huge flock of Cedar Waxwings swooped in and stripped the bush of all the berries.

Baltimore Orioles will feed on oranges and grape jelly. I wonder if the mockingbird would try to defend either of those from the oriole.
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
Maybe pick or prune out all the berries? If necessary remove all feeders for a day or two (well peanuts at least to start).

Not sure if it would work but you could perhaps put a few feeders out for half an hour and wait nearby outside and allow the other birds to feed and chase the mockingbird off every time it approaches ... natural food sources dry up and birds move on all the time.
 

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
United States
Removing the feeders for a day or two and the berries might work. Perhaps the Mocker will move on.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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