With each day that passes the breeding season for birds’ draws ever closer. As of the last week of January some songbirds were already singing, like Cardinals and Chickadees. Spring really is right around the corner and soon the habits and behaviors of birds will begin to change noticeably.
Many of you will experience our state bird, the Northern Mockingbird, ramp up its territorial defense of its chosen breeding- ground. The typically feisty Mockingbird can be seen harassing predators that encroach on its territory, like hawks and cats. Maybe you’ve had a Mockingbird take a swipe at you when to close to their nest.
But it also means “Mockers” may present a problem for your feeder birds. If your feeding stations are anywhere near the intended nesting area of a Mockingbird one or both of the mating pair may fly in aggressively and make all the feeding birds scatter, over and over again. This tends to be a very frustrating experience, more so, for the person trying to feed birds than for the birds being chased. This behavior usually persists well into the Mockingbirds first nesting in April. When the babies hatch and the “Mockers” are feeding young they are usually too busy to chase the feeder birds away. It will still happen but not with the frequency of earlier in the breeding season.
- Temporarily move, or spread out, your feeders. One Mockingbird cannot be in two or three places at once. Move feeders further away or out of sight of the location they appear to be guarding. Mockingbirds often use evergreen trees or shrubs, or dense hedges to nest in.
- Try offering the Mockingbirds a few live mealworms a couple of times a day. This may or may not alleviate the tension but you may gain an appreciation for the “personality” this intelligent bird displays. Be sure to offer the mealworms near the Mockingbirds’ supposed nest-site and not near the birds feeding station.
- When we have fed Mockingbirds on our loading dock at the store it’s been an enjoyable experience. They nearly come to our feet and are quite tolerant of our presence.
February is national birdfeeding month so stay tuned for more blogs througout the month. Also stop by and take advantage of our big bird feeding sale running through February.