ATTRACTING THE NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD
….Compliments of Wild Birds Forever
Of all North American birds, the Mockingbird is by far, the most famed for its vocal imitations. Besides its own rapturous song, the mockingbird’s repertoire has been known to include over 40 different sounds including the barking of a dog. Mockingbirds can be fiercely territorial during the mating season as they defend their nests and territories. Watching their behavior can be quite thrilling. The Mockingbird is a very important visitor to your backyard. Not only is it’s song enchanting, but they will help to eat many of your nuisance garden insects!
Mockingbirds are long streamlined gray birds reaching up to 9 inches in length, with white undersides and flashy white wing patches and outer tail feathers. The male and females look alike.
The song is a mixture of original and imitative phrases, each repeated several times. It will imitate other species’ songs and calls, squeaky gates, pianos, sirens, barking dogs, etc.
During the mating season the male will mark his territory with song. You will see them singing incessantly, both night and day, hopping from one song post to another. If you see him jumping up and down in the air, he’s catching a few insects! In the Fall, both the male and female will mark their territory to protect Fall and Winter food sources.
Range and Habitat
Lives from southern Oregon through northern Utah to Newfoundland and south to Mexico and the West Indies. Mockingbirds require open grassy areas for their feeding, thick, thorny shrubs for hiding the nest and high perches where the male can sing and defend his territory. Gardens are among its favorite dwelling places especially if winter berries are available.
The Mockingbird’s primary diet is insects (beetles, ants, grasshoppers and spiders),berries and seed.
Mockingbirds will not typically visit your seed feeders. However you can attract them to your backyard by:
- Placing a suet feeder in your yard.
- Offer chopped dried fruit grapes or raisins on a platform feeder.
- Offer apples or pomegranates to mockingbirds on a special fruit feeder.
- Make sure you have a bird bath or water source.
- Plant berry bushes such as holly, mulberries, raspberries, Virginia creeper, blackberries, dogwood, elderberries, hackberry, brambles, pyracantha, cotoneaster, grapes or figs.