Mockingbirds are perhaps most well known for their melodic and tuneful singing and have also come to symbolize innocence and beauty thanks, at least in part, to Harper Lee’s best known and most widely read novel To Kill a Mockingbird. On the flip side, they are known for their fierce and often aggressive behavior when it comes to defending their young.
Love them or otherwise, Mockingbirds are here to stay, and if you have ever wondered what do Mockingbirds eat that attracts them to your backyard, then settle in to find out more.
- What Do Mockingbirds Eat
- Why Are Mockingbirds Aggressive?
- Can A Mockingbird Hurt Humans or Pets
- Do Mockingbirds Kill Other Birds?
- How Do You Keep A Mockingbird Away?
- Where Do Mocking Birds Nest
What Do Mockingbirds Eat
Mockingbirds eat a varied diet, consisting of insects, fruits, berries, worms, bugs, and suet. Their diet changes based on the time of year and what kinds of foods are available to eat. For example, Mockingbirds probably won’t pull worms from the ground like a robin, but they will eat from a feeder and hunt for insects near the ground. Here’s a rundown of what delicacies might entice a mockingbird to your garden. Or indeed, keep them away.
Do Mocking Birds Eat Sunflower Seeds?
Mockingbirds do not eat a lot of seeds, even if they are sunflower seeds. They prefer insects and fruit over any kind of seeds. However, mockingbirds in your yard might eat a few hulled sunflower seeds if they are presented alongside fruit or suet and if other types of food are scarce.
For the most part, though, you are unlikely to see mockingbirds eating sunflower seeds. So if you want to attract them to your yard, create a bowl feeder with fruits, berries, and mealworms.
Do Mocking Birds Eat Bird Seed?
It is not typical for mockingbirds to eat birdseed. Their diet is based more on insects, worms, fruits, berries, and suet. You might find them at your bird feeder in the winter when other foods are scarce, but birdseed is not a primary food for them to eat.
Mockingbirds prefer other types of food, such as worms, insects, and berries.
Do Mockingbirds Eat Mealworms
Mockingbirds love mealworms. You can feed mockingbirds live mealworms that you raise yourself or even purchase freeze-dried mealworms to feed them. Mealworms are nutritious and provide protein, fat, and fiber for hungry birds.
Although mealworms look like worms, they are actually beetle larvae. They are easy to raise and take up very little space. You can feed mealworms to mockingbirds in a small bowl or cup. Mockingbirds can benefit from additional sources of protein in the winter, and mealworms are a great choice.
Do Mockingbirds Eat Fruit
Fruit, and especially berries, make up a large part of a mockingbird’s diet. They will eat fruit from feeder trays and right off of your trees and bushes, as well. You can feed them sliced oranges, apples, and even pomegranates and bananas. You can also plant berry bushes such as mulberry, raspberry, blackberry, dogwood, and figs. These types of trees and bushes will attract mockingbirds to your yard. If you don’t want them to devour your fruit, you may need to cover it up with bird netting.
Keep in mind that you should not feed avocado to mockingbirds or any type of bird.
Do Mockingbirds Eat Lizards or Snakes
Mockingbirds are omnivores, which means they eat both vegetation and other animals. Mockingbirds will typically eat insects and bugs for their protein, but they can eat small lizards or snakes. Species of mockingbirds that live in coastal areas may eat small crabs, as well.
While a mockingbird can technically eat a snake, they are more likely to attack them in defense of their nest and chicks rather than eat them for dinner.
Do Mockingbirds Eat Bees
Although mockingbirds can and do eat bees, bees aren’t a large part of their diet. Mockingbirds can eat just about any insect, but bees are a challenging meal. Bees are fast and will sting in self-defense, something that would not be palatable to a bird.
It would probably be a very hungry mockingbird that would actually hunt and eat a bee since there are much easier insects to catch and eat, so don’t count on mockingbirds to control the bee population in your yard.
Do Mockingbirds Eat Tomatoes
Mockingbirds will eat your prized tomatoes! They are very attracted to the bright red fruits and will have no problem swiping them when you aren’t looking. However, you might have trouble getting your tomatoes to ripen before your friendly neighborhood mockingbird eats them all. You may need to provide a decoy tomato plant to keep the mockingbirds away from your favorite tomato varieties and use netting to drape over the tomato plants to protect them.
Better yet, plant some extra tomatoes and enjoy sharing with these fascinating birds.
Do Mockingbirds Eat Strawberries
Mocking birds eat fruit and berries all summer long, including delicious strawberries. You may have trouble preventing them from eating up all the ripening berries in your garden. If this is the case, you’ll either want to plant extra berries for you and your family or cover them up with netting.
Some people find success in painting rocks to look like strawberries and placing them near the plants before the berries begin to form. The birds find that the stones aren’t edible and will leave the berries alone when they ripen.
Why Are Mockingbirds Aggressive?
Mockingbirds can be very aggressive birds for several reasons. First, these birds are highly territorial and will chase other birds away from their turf.
Female mockingbirds will also chase other female mockingbirds away to defend their mate. However, these birds are the most aggressive when they have nests and young chicks. They will protect their chicks from predators, such as other birds, snakes, cats, and, if necessary, people.
This makes mockingbirds appear very aggressive, so be careful when you approach their nesting area.
Can A Mockingbird Hurt Humans or Pets
It is unlikely that a mockingbird would seriously hurt a human or a pet. However, it can happen, especially during nesting season when a female is protecting her young chicks. They can be very aggressive when protecting their nest and attempt to chase away people, cats, dogs, and other potential threats.
If a mockingbird attacks you, it will most likely swoop at you from behind, flapping its wings at your head. And while they are unlikely to do severe damage, they can deliver a nasty peck!
Studies have shown that mockingbirds can remember humans who disturb their nests in past years. Therefore, it is always wise to avoid nesting areas and keep your – and your pets’ – distance from the birds.
Do Mockingbirds Kill Other Birds?
Mockingbirds can be very aggressive and will attack and even kill other birds if they feel they threaten their nests or babies. They are most aggressive when defending their young. However, they will also ward off other birds to protect their mates, nesting areas, and feeding areas.
Mockingbirds have been known to even attack birds as large as bald eagles. However, this bravery doesn’t end there- they will also fend off starlings, woodpeckers, and robins fighting for food.
While mockingbirds will kill other birds defending their family, they aren’t likely to kill birds to eat them.
Do Mockingbirds Eat Other Birds
It is not normal for a mockingbird to eat other birds. So while it might seem like they are preying on other birds, the aggressive behavior you see is most likely just a mockingbird defending its turf.
Mockingbirds are aggressive towards other animals and even birds that threaten their nests and their babies. So you might see these brave birds attack birds much larger than themselves, including hawks and even the occasional eagle. But it is unlikely that a mockingbird would ever eat another bird.
Do Mockingbirds Eat Bird Eggs
Mockingbirds mainly feed on insects, fruits, and berries. These are the main parts of a mockingbird’s diet. However, some species have been known to eat the eggs of other birds. This is known as oophagy. Mockingbirds don’t commonly eat the eggs of other birds, but the Northern Mockingbird, in particular, has been known to partake of eggs when food is scarce.
On the other hand, if a cowbird manages to lay its eggs in a mockingbird nest, the mockingbird will not eat them. Instead, it will hatch and raise those eggs as its own. This also prevents future cowbird attacks on the eggs already in the nest.
How to Stop A Mockingbird from Attacking Other Birds?
There is no surefire way to stop a mockingbird from attacking other birds. They will aggressively protect their nests, feeding areas, babies, and mates. If another bird gets too close, it will attack, even if it is the same species.
However, you can discourage them from nesting or hanging around in your yard, which will reduce the number of attacks. You can cut down on their preferred food sources and keep trees pruned to remove nesting areas to discourage their presence in your yard. Fewer mockingbirds mean you will have fewer attacks on other types of birds.
How Do You Keep A Mockingbird Away?
If mockingbirds are bothering you or are becoming very aggressive towards your family, you might want to discourage their presence. You can do a few things to keep them away, but it is illegal to harm a mockingbird or its nest. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act protects them.
First, you may need to cut down on their available food sources. For example, placing netting over any fruit or berry trees and shrubs will curb their ability to eat those foods, making your yard less appealing. You might also eliminate any unwanted berry bushes or trees to remove nesting areas and food sources.
Second, you might need to prune away trees where mockingbirds like to nest.
A fake hawk or owl might also be enough to scare away a mockingbird or encourage it to go elsewhere. Loud noises, bobbing balloons, and flapping umbrellas might also ward off a would-be attack.
What Are Mockingbirds Afraid Of?
Mockingbirds are tough little birds that will valiantly defend their nests, but they are afraid of some predators. They are terrified of owls, hawks, and eagles. And while they may attack these birds to defend their nest, a fake version might be enough of a deterrent to keep them at bay, especially the kind that have motion-sensitive eyes or sounds.
Mockingbirds may also be afraid of loud noises such as yelling, air horns, or banging pots. You might be able to scare them off with bright flashing lights and flashlights at night. If mockingbirds are attacking you, you might be able to frighten them away by carrying an open umbrella with you or by attaching a helium balloon to your back so that it bobs a few feet above your head.
Lastly, you might be able to frighten a mockingbird by hitting it with a stream of water, but you cannot hurt or harm any birds or their nests. Do not attempt to wash away a nest with a garden hose because this is illegal.
Where Do Mocking Birds Nest
Mockingbirds will usually pick shrubs and trees for their nests and place them between 3 and 10 feet high. However, sometimes they will even nest as high as 60 feet!
The male mockingbird will choose several spots and begins to make the nests in each one. The female will choose the one she likes best and will lay her eggs in it. Their nests are made of dead twigs and lined with grass, leaves, and even trash. The male will build the nest’s foundation, and the female will finish it by making an inner lining.
It isn’t unusual for a female to be laying eggs in a second nest while the male raises the young birds, but they typically do not reuse the same nests.