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Click to go to Audubon Society of Omaha Home Page Audubon Society of OmahaEastern Bluebird

Welcome to The Bluebird Box since 1995
Best of Bluebird Mailing Lists Classified

Bluebirds and Mockingbirds (Part 2)

In addition to Messages that have appeared in the Bluebird Mailing Lists on this topic, the following are on the Audubon Society of Omaha website:  Predators and Problems On The Bluebird Trail


Date: Sun, 24 Mar 2002 11:56:15 -0600
To: Bluebird-L"at"cornell.edu (BLUEBIRD-L)
From: Kate Oschwald bbnestbox"at"1starnet.com
Subject: Re: Bluebird Song, or is it?

At 01:09 PM 3/23/02 -0500, Karen Louise Lippy wrote:
The most amazing this I have ever heard a mockingbird imitate is a
bald eagle at the state park where I work. It too, was a little "off"
in tone, but perfect in cadence. We kept running outside to see the
eagle, and finally caught the mocker in song. Also had a mocker in my
back yard that imitated a kingfisher. No water nearby and I am in a
suburban development. Does indicate, I think, that the birds had
encountered these species enough times to pick up their calls. Karen
from South Central PA

Obviously there are enough bluebirds around here all year long that at least one mockingbird has picked up this song :-)

Kate Oschwald
Paris, TX
100 mi NE of Dallas
33.6853N 95.6293W


Date: Sun, 24 Mar 2002 11:53:50 -0600
To: Bluebird-L"at"cornell.edu (BLUEBIRD-L)
From: Kate Oschwald bbnestbox"at"1starnet.com
Subject: Re: Bluebird Song, or is it?

At 01:13 PM 3/23/02 -0400, you wrote:
Haleya Priest Amherst MA
Kate, it shows your expertise to know he was somewhat "off". Our
Mocker does a perfect EABL. However my favorite is his mallard duck
imitation. QUACK QUACK QUACK :-) H

I was told of one that perfectly imitated the "beep, beep, beep" made by heavy equipment when it backs up! I would have loved to hear it myself.

Kate Oschwald
Paris, TX
100 mi NE of Dallas
33.6853N 95.6293W


Date: Sun, 24 Mar 2002 22:06:31 EDT
From: "Rwatts" rwatts"at"mymailstation.com
To: bluebird-l"at"cornell.edu (BLUEBIRD-L)
Subject: Re: Bluebird Song, or is it?

I've not heard enough mockers to speak about their mocking ability... But I do know that during the years we had both a Siamese and a Korat, our catbirds developed a distinctly Oriental accent!

Rhonda
Wilton, N.H.


Date: Sun, 09 Jun 2002 14:11:14 -0400
From: Pamela Ford jpford"at"comcast.net
Subject: Help - I have a tyrant of a mockingbird!
To: Haleya Priest mablue"at"gis.net, bluebird-l"at"cornell.edu

Haleya and all,

I remember the thread about mockingbirds a while ago, but never had more than passing trouble with them. Now, one has taken over the backyard and chased all other birds away. Only the male and female bluebird with their 2-day old babies are trying to stand against his constant aerial sorties. It has caused the bluebirds to go into hiding and I fear they are unable to get to their nestbox as often as they should to feed the nestlings. The mockingbird stands right on top of the box. Our family has spent two days in a "chase the mockingbird" mode, but to no avail - he is just getting bolder. Any ideas on how I can dissuade him? It's too far and he's too fast for a super soaker water gun to work. The paintball gun would be too dangerous (I don't want to accidentally kill him). I have removed all people-supplied food sources from the yard. I've run out of ideas!

I hope there is an answer. I don't want to lose the nestlings.

Pam in Harford County, Maryland


From: "BONNIE A. YEAGER" dement"at"frognet.net
To: jpford"at"comcast.net
Cc: bluebird-l"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: Help - I have a tyrant of a mockingbird!
Date: Sun, 9 Jun 2002 17:08:24 -0400

Pamela,
I had the same problem last year and everything worked out OK. The parents were harassed by the Mocking Bird, but were still able to successfully fledge four nestlings.

Fred Yeager,
SE, OH
----- Original Message -----
From: "Pamela Ford" jpford"at"comcast.net
To: "Haleya Priest" mablue"at"gis.net; bluebird-l"at"cornell.edu
Sent: Sunday, June 09, 2002 2:11 PM
Subject: Help - I have a tyrant of a mockingbird!

...


Date: Sun, 09 Jun 2002 18:21:34 -0400
From: Haleya Priest mablue"at"gis.net
To: Pamela Ford jpford"at"comcast.net
CC: bluebird-l"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: Help - I have a tyrant of a mockingbird!

Haleya Priest, Amherst MA
Uh oh..... Try moving the box out of sight of the mockingbird. For example, on the other side of the house or something from where the mockers like to sit. You can move the box at least 10-15' a day or so. I think this may one of the only options at this point. I hope others have ideas - but I know if my mockers can't see the nest box they don't harass the EABL as much. Let's keep our fingers crossed! Keep us posted with what you decide to do. H

Pamela Ford wrote:

Haleya and all,

I remember the thread about mockingbirds a while ago, but never had

...


From: "Bill Darnell" bdarnel3"at"bellsouth.net
To: mablue"at"gis.net, "Pamela Ford" jpford"at"comcast.net
Cc: bluebird-l"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: Help - I have a tyrant of a mockingbird!
Date: Sun, 9 Jun 2002 20:06:58 -0500

I have had good luck by putting extra boxes at the start of the season, around the yard. The Bluebirds drive the Mocker crazy sometimes, but flying to different boxes. The Mocker pair I have is as bad as they come, but the Bluebirds in the yard are into the second nesting right now. I have seen one of them feed while another is distracting, etc. Bill TN

Haleya Priest, Amherst MA
Uh oh..... Try moving the box out of sight of the mockingbird.

...


Date: Mon, 10 Jun 2002 11:27:17 -0700 (PDT)
From: Kerry Sweet ksweet3450"at"yahoo.com
Subject: Re: Help - I have a tyrant of a mockingbird!
To: jpford"at"comcast.net, Bluebird Messages bluebird-l"at"cornell.edu

Pam,

I had a Mocking Bird do this in my yard a couple of years ago and it also used the Eastern Bluebirds(EABL) nestbox for a perch. I made the Mocker his own perch, a T-post with a little 5x7 platform on top.

Also due to the heat I moved the EABL nestbox over just alittle which put a tree branch over the top shading it, this inadvertently made swooping in for a landing (which the Mocker love to do) much more difficult for him.

I love the Mocking Bird ... They do chase away other bad guys.
Good Luck!!
Kerry in NE corner of Okla.

--- Pamela Ford jpford"at"comcast.net wrote:
Haleya and all,

I remember the thread about mockingbirds a while ago, but never had

...


From: "Fread J" firefrost2"at"hotmail.com
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Mockingbirds
Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 15:18:11 -0500


With an astounding range from Canada to South America and chosen as the State Bird of no less than five states, (Texas, Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi,and Tennessee) no other North American species can boast more vocal imitations than the wonderful melodious Northern Mockingbird! Also, few other species are more defensively aggressive during nesting season than this ventriloquist, virtually taking on all who dare trespass upon his territory.

I vividly recall so many mid-summer nights being serenaded with his rapturous songs pouring from the top of a moonlit Silver Poplar growing outside my bedroom window. I would lie there attempting to count in his vast repertoire the number of mocked songs he had copied so perfectly. Interestingly, when investigated electronically, his calls are so perfectly mimicked that they are nearly impossible to tell from the original!

It is the unattached male whose love songs are interwoven with the night breezes. As soon as he finds a mate, he saves his voice for day time singing. Properly known as Mimus polyglottos, loosely translated as "many-tongued mimic", this feathered lothario sings a medley of common bird songs. Unlike other songsters, which learn their songs before they are a year old, the Mockingbird continues to expand his repertoire all of his life!

This robin-sized bird gives credence to the saying "If you got it, flaunt it!" Jauntily flying from highest perch to perch, he will do stunning aerial maneuvers in full song while flashing his white-barred wings in a warning to all others that THIS is his territory! Watching his behavior can be quite thrilling.

In the large Yaupon Holly in my front yard is a nest of Northern Mockingbirds. Below this large shrub is a flower bed which requires tending. This fellow has learned to mimic the growling of my Rat Terrier! So when I am tending the garden, he stands off on top of the yard light, growling his displeasure at me! That always brings a smile! This guy is not content to copy other bird's songs. He will also throw in a few other sounds like frogs croaking, Guinea hens calling, bells
ringing, etc! One of my favorite childhood memories of this fascinating bird was one who perfectly mimicked the squeaking metal gate leading out to the pasture!

The next time you hear a Mockingbird sing, stop to do some "Ear Birding" and see how many different songs you can recognize. Because you can hear so many more birds than you can actually see, learning their songs can be an interesting hobby. I offer this site to those who wish to engage upon such a fascinating project. I often, when traveling alone, play these CD's to make the trip pass quickly.
http://www.birdwatching.com/tips/birdsongs.html

Fread J. Loane
Tulsa, Oklahoma


Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 15:30:07 -0500 (Central Daylight Time)
From: "Phil Berry" mrtony8"at"mchsi.com
To: firefrost2"at"hotmail.com, BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: Mockingbirds

Fread,
Do you know how to tell when Dog Days are here? The mockers stop their incezzznt chattering. Suddenly, one morning, it is quiet. And they stay quiet until D D are over. Just as sudenly, one morning they will waken you making all their racket again... DD are over. Phil Berry Gulf Breeze, Florida

-------Original Message-------

From: firefrost2"at"hotmail.com
Date: Thursday, July 11, 2002 3:19:12 PM
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Mockingbirds

...


From: "Ron Kingston" kingston"at"cstone.net
To: mrtony8"at"mchsi.com, firefrost2"at"hotmail.com,
BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: Mockingbirds singing
Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 19:53:41 -0400

To all ...

It is my understanding that the Mockers do not sing or mock during the month of August. Guess they take a vacation and get rested up for another busy season.

I believe the Dog Days of Summer are here but today the temperature went down to a cool 75 degrees here in Central Virginia. We got some much needed rain, too, the past 2 days (Tue & Wed).

Yes, Bluebird, Catbird, Mockingbird, Robin, Thrasher & Thrushes are what I call 'cousins'. They are of the same specie ... Thrushes.

Cheers from Priscilla Kingston

-----Original Message-----
From: Phil Berry mrtony8"at"mchsi.com
To: firefrost2"at"hotmail.com BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Date: Thursday, July 11, 2002 4:37 PM
Subject: Re: Mockingbirds

...


Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 21:51:01 EDT
From: "Rwatts" rwatts"at"mymailstation.com
To: bluebird-l"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re:Re: Mockingbirds singing

Interestingly, I'm sure I heard a mocker mocking a bluebird at one of our horse shows last month. I'm going there again on Sunday--interested to see if the bluebirds are still around, too. I hear them more and more in recent years--show grounds are usually excellent territory for blues, with the well-mown grounds.

Rhonda Watts
Wilton, N.H.
"Are you marching 22/9/02? Visit http://www.march-info.org
for details. A fair country worth fighting for!"


From: "Bill Darnell" bdarnel3"at"bellsouth.net
To: rwatts"at"mymailstation.com, bluebird-l"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re:Re: Mockingbirds singing
Date: Thu, 11 Jul 2002 21:48:23 -0500

Interestingly, I'm sure I heard a mocker mocking a

...
Rhonda Watts

Rhonda, the yard Mocker here learned to do the Purple Martin's alarm call! He drove them crazy until they learned the difference. Bill


From: "Burnham, Barbara" Barbara.Burnham"at"zzz.zzz
To: "'Fread J'" firefrost2"at"hotmail.com, BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: RE: Mockingbirds
Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2002 12:37:28 -0400

Thanks Fread,
Anyone looking to set up bluebird trails might listen to the local mockers for clues.

Our local Mocker likes to play jokes on me. The first time I monitored our bluebird box (and a bit timid about it), Mr. Mocker quietly perched nearby. As I opened the box, he "screamed" a bluebird alarm call. I'm sure he got a laugh when I jumped 3 feet high.

Some mornings, I like to get up early and have my coffee out on the deck, watch the sun rise and listen to the forest awaken. First step is to turn off the house alarm, then quietly open the door so as not to wake the household. (Sometimes we forget, and the alarm goes off.) One of those early mornings, as I gingerly opened the deck door, the alarm went off! But no, it was again Mr. Mocker, on the roof right overhead.

It's not just me that he likes to play jokes on. When the bluebird fledglings were up in the trees learning to be bluebirds, he would imitate those baby cries, almost fooling the parents. I suppose he hoped they might bring him some mealworms, too.

But Mr. Mocker has many saving graces, like when he boldly chases the red-shouldered hawk far and away from our bluebirds, or serenades us all day long with his beautiful local bird renditions mixed with the assorted house alarms, ambulances, and squeaky metal gates.

The first time I experienced a night-singing mockingbird, I luckily thought to record it. Those two hours of tape were replayed during most depressing times, and always held the power to lift my spirits.

Barbara Burnham
Ellicott City, Maryland

-----Original Message-----
From: Fread J [mailto:firefrost2"at"hotmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, July 11, 2002 4:18 PM
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Mockingbirds

...


Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2003 08:19:07 -0700 (PDT)
From: Todd Church tpchurch"at"yahoo.com
Subject: Mockingbirds as predators??
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu

My wife and I live in Northern Virginia and have had some recent bad luck with the Bluebird eggs in our nest box. This year, a first clutch of four eggs was laid in late March, but a spell of cold weather with rain and spring snow did the eggs in. We observed that they were not hatching well after the normal incubation time. Before I had a chance to remove the infertile eggs, it appeared that a predator had removed two of the four eggs.

Then, before I could remove the remaining two eggs, the Bluebirds began laying another clutch of five eggs in the nest box. I could only positively identify and remove one of the old, bad eggs so I left the next box alone with six eggs in it (5 new eggs and one old one). My wife checked on them on a Monday afternoon and the eggs were fine. The following evening when I checked on them, they were all gone. The nest did not show signs of disturbance but a few scattered shell fragments were on the ground below the next box. One egg was also on the ground below the nest box with a small hole in the shell.

My wife and I keep close tabs on the birds in our backyard, and we have not seen any House Sparrows or House Wrens. We occasionally have Carolina Wrens, but we haven’t seen them in recent weeks. We have had a pair of territorial Mockingbirds that have been fighting with the Bluebirds. Occasionally, the Mockingbirds would land on the nest box, but we’ve never seen them try to enter it. We have a squirrel and raccoon baffle on the post for the nest box, so we doubt that the predator was anything like that. Since this has all happened, the Bluebird pair has not been around and nothing has been occupying the next box.  The rotten Mockingbirds are still around though! Has anyone ever had or heard of Mockingbirds raiding a Bluebird nest box in order to keep other birds out of their territory?

Thanks for your help,
Todd Church
Centreville, VA


From: "Larry A Broadbent" rockets"at"mnsi.net
To: "Bluebird List" bluebird-l"at"cornell.edu
Cc: tpchurch"at"yahoo.com
Subject: Re: Mockingbirds as predators??
Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2003 11:39:18 -0400

Todd wrote
"The following evening when I checked on them, they were all gone. The nest did not show signs of disturbance but a few scattered shell fragments were on the ground below the next box. One egg was also on the ground below the nest box with a small hole in the shell. "

Reply:
Todd, that sure sounds like a House Wren was the culprit that removed your Bluebird Eggs. The key indicator is the "One egg was also on the ground below the nest box with a small hole in the shell"

Regards,
Ontario Eastern Bluebird Society (OEBS) member http://www.ontarioeasternbluebirdsociety.org/
Essex County Purple Martin Association - member
Purple Martin Conservation Association (PMCA) member
Larry A Broadbent
388 Park Ave East #301
Chatham, ON N7M 3W3
Tel (519) 351-6988
E-mail rockets"at"mnsi.net
Web - in the works

Your description of "
----- Original Message -----
From: "Todd Church" tpchurch"at"yahoo.com
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2003 11:19 AM
Subject: Mockingbirds as predators??

...


From: "Mary Beth Roen" mbroen"at"hotmail.com
To: tpchurch"at"yahoo.com, BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: Mockingbirds as predators??
Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2003 10:54:53 -0500

Todd,

When this has happened to me, it has always been House Wrens that pierced the eggs and carried them out, but I live in Wisconsin, so it could be a different avian predator for you.

Mary Roen, River Falls, WI


From: Mary Thomson [mailto:MaryThomson"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2004 12:19 PM
Subject: Mockingbird Aggression Toward Bluebirds

Hi Everyone, I am thrilled to say that my Bluebird pair returned and have fledged one brood of five and have four eggs so far in a second box. What a joy! ("Miss Molly" perches on my windowsill and pecks at my window for mealies.) Unfortunately, the mockingbirds (our state bird) are harassing the Blues terribly--much more so than last year. Last year, I lured the mockingbirds to another part of the yard with fruit and nuts. This year, they won't leave because they want the mealies I'm now feeding the Bluebirds--and the mockingbirds get a lot of them! After finally getting the Bluebirds comfortable using the BB feeder (even a few of their babies when in!)--the mockingbirds have traumatized them to the point that they won't even go in now. I had to start putting the mealies in a dish in an open feeder and fight off the mockingbirds whenever I can but they still get most of the mealies. They aggressively chase the BBs every time they see them. If this keeps up, I'm afraid my pair won't continue to nest in my yard. I thought about discontinuing the feeding of mealies. I would hate to do this --especially with 9,000 of them in my garage! (When the BBs were using the feeder and feeding their young, they were consuming 300-400 per day.) Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Mary Thomson Chattanooga, TN


From: Ron Kingston [mailto:kingston"at"cstone.net]
Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2004 3:20 PM
Re: Mockingbird Aggression Toward Bluebirds

Hello Mary and All, The Mockingbird is our bird clubs motto. Did you know that Thomas Jefferson (T.J. for short) had a pet Mockingbird in a cage at Monticello? Hey, maybe that is your solution. Cage your Mockers. (ha) The Mockingbird is also the state bird of Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi and Texas. We also feed our BB with Meal worms. Are you putting your worms in a closed feeder? Make sure the entrance is small enough so the Mock can't get inside but large enough for the BB to get to them. We haven't had any trouble with our few Mockingbirds we have here in Central Va. ... so far. Good Luck. Priscilla Central Va


From: Mary Thomson [mailto:MaryThomson"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2004 6:39 PM
RE: Mockingbird Aggression Toward Bluebirds--Long...Sorry!

Thank s to Everyone who responded to my dilemma! I truly appreciate your help and it is so good to know there is a place where everyone with a common interest can help each other. Priscilla, the Mockingbird is the state bird of my state of Tennessee as well! (But no less bothersome when they act up!) Until recently, I never allowed the Mockers to get the mealies if I could help it-I chase them all the time. Several days ago, I just gave up! Previously, I fed the Bluebirds in a Bluebird feeder -the type with Plexiglas sides and wood ends with entry holes. This worked well for months (for the mother Bluebird, at least-- it took the male Bluebird months before he would go in). With their first brood fledged and both Mom and Pop now going into the BB feeder, things were great. The Mockingbirds would get some for the mealies, however, because the mealies crawl up the wooden ends and escape. The Mocker was quick to swoop down and grab all he could. (The warmer the weather, the faster they crawl out.) Next plan: I decided to put the mealies in a cup so they couldn't crawl out. It took about a week before the Bluebirds would go in the feeder with this change. Success finally and I thought my troubles were over. (Really cute: the babies learned to go to the entrance hole and Mom "Molly" would feed them right from inside the feeder. On several occasions, the babies entered the feeder.) Trouble: Mocker not happy that the mealies are not crawling out. Started attacking the Bluebirds mercilessly. And when he would find the BBs in the feeder he would screech and try to attack the BBs thru the Plexiglas. Needless to say, this traumatized the Bluebirds-they would panic! This is all happening right in front of my home office window. .Finally, the BBs refused to go into the feeder. They would just come up to my windowsill and beg; Molly pecks on the glass. Then two days ago, I noticed Molly had gotten so thin, it was frightening. That is when I gave up and put the cup in the open feeder, chasing the Mockingbirds whenever I could. This morning, I could not stand the Mockingbird aggression and put the cup away from the window. Now, I've put the cup back in the feeder and Mom and Pop BB will not go in. I would try not feeding more mealies but I just had 10,000 shipped to me last week! (oops!) Next step is probably (continuing to chase the Mockers) and try another BB feeder, probably Hyalea's, that does not confine them as much--(thanks Diane!!) ...Thing is... I have a Job! (beyond birding!). Mary Thomson Chattanooga TN


From: Stan Blaylock [mailto:stanb103"at"bellsouth.net]
Sent: Sunday, June 20, 2004 8:12 AM
Subject: Mocking birds

Mocking birds have eliminated all other birds from my yard. What to do??? Stan Blaylock


From: Shane&Emily Marcotte [mailto:marco50"at"bellsouth.net]
Sent: Sunday, June 20, 2004 8:18 AM
Re: Mocking birds

Hi Stan, You include your ph numbers but no area codes.Where are you located?When you suggest they have eliminated the others what do you mean?Chasing them from feeders?They may have a nest and are being protective. Shane Marcotte Watson Louisiana LBBS Member


From: Phil Berry [mailto:mrtony8"at"mchsi.com]
Sent: Sunday, June 20, 2004 8:26 AM
Re: Mocking birds

Mockers are feeling their oats right now. New fledglings are being taught the rules of the road. They are everywhere. They will settle down in a week or so. I see them practicing their "dance" --- even with other species. they are fun to watch. Phil Berry


From: paradocs2 [mailto:paradocs2"at"adelphia.net]
Sent: Sunday, September 26, 2004 8:51 PM
Subject: Mockingbird Question

I seem to have an increasing population of mockingbirds and think they may be competing with my bluebird population. Does anyone know if there is competition between these populations and how to best manage any problems? Steven Klein Middletown, MD 21769


From: Donald Edwards [mailto:pinecrestfarm"at"earthlink.net]
Sent: Sunday, September 26, 2004 9:32 PM
Re: Mockingbird Question

Yes, Steven, I have had trouble with mockingbirds harassing adult BB feeding young so much that they abandoned their young. They do not want the box, just the territory, even though the BB were there first. I did not discover what was happening in time to save the babies. If it should happen again, I would attempt to move the house a few feet a day until it is out of the teritory of the mocker if you can figure out what that is. Depending on the nesting stage of the BB they will not mind it. It will be easier if you can discover and move it before nesting starts or gets far along. Ruth Edwards, Westport, MA..


From: Evelyn Cooper [mailto:emcooper"at"bayou.com]
Sent: Sunday, September 26, 2004 9:47 PM
RE: Mockingbird Question

I've had Mockingbird battles in my yard for several years. However, this little pair that nested this year just whipped the tar out of that old Mocker. They ran him/her off and "it" would sit on the edge of the yard in the trees trying to sing like the Bluebird. It would crack me up as it would miss a few notes. All of the off-springs this pair has raised are just as feisty. I see them letting any birds that come to the yard know they are the boss. I saw two of the juveniles run a Cardinal out of the yard. I guess I sound like I am bragging, but Bluebirds have a reputation for being too passive and get run over most times. I like to see them defend their territory!!! And, they have decided my yard is their territory. However, they do let many species bathe with them in the wonderful little puddles that I make with the water hose running down my gravel driveway. Today, before I had turned it on, I saw four of them around the end of the hose looking for the water. They love to get right where the water comes out and have a big splash! There are at least 30 bathing at one time and that includes, Bluebirds, American Goldfinches, some type of yellow Warbler, male and female Summer Tanager, Robins and a Blue Jay. The Blue Jay was way down at the end of the driveway. It is so dry here and they are loving the water I provide. Evelyn Cooper Delhi, LA


From: Gretchen Cornell [mailto:gcornnell"at"diocesecpa.org]
Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2005 9:40 AM
Subject: Mockingbird Problem

A Mockingbird showed up in my backyard about a week ago and has been terrorizing my Blues.  He shoos them away from the feeders and eats all their mealworms.  I have the little dish type feeders attached to the Bluebird box pole and he flies from one feeder dish to the other every time a Blue gets close.  The Blues do get a worm now and then but the Mockingbird takes the majority and then sits guard on the backyard so every time a Blue gets close it is harassed.  Any suggestions on how to get rid of the punk bird?  Gretchen



From: Stephen Hewlett [mailto:shewlett"at"earthlink.net]
Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2005 10:11 AM
Subject: Re: Mockingbird Problem

I had a similar Mockingbird problem a couple of years ago. In this case it was the suet feeders that the Mockingbird was defending. First I spaced the feeders out in the back yard but that just made him work harder. I put a couple of suet feeders in the front yard and that solved the problem ... the Mockingbird couldn't effectively guard all feeders at once. Steve Framingham, MA


From: Cher [mailto:BluebirdNut"at"a-znet.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2005 10:15 AM
Subject: Re: Mockingbird Problem

Gretchen,

I don't know how you could get rid of the mockingbird, but you might be able to exclude or at least discourage him from raiding the mealworm supply by using one of the dedicated Bluebird feeders available on the market. Here are some links to several different types, and also some instructions for making your own.

Droll Yankee X-1 feeder:  http://www.drollyankees.com/products.cfm?ID=X-1
Barn Jail Feeder:  http://jennabird.easystorecreator.com/browse_dept_items.asp/categ_id/7/parent_ids/0/Name/Mealworm_Feeders
Evergreen Bluebird Feeder:  http://store.aftonmountainwildlife.com/evblfebybade.html
Other feeders: http://www.birdsforever.com/bluefdrs.html
Make your own:  http://home.comcast.net/~femad/More pages/feeder.htm


From: LindaEHunt"at"aol.com [mailto:LindaEHunt"at"aol.com]
Sent: Saturday, February 05, 2005 8:41 AM
Subject: Mockingbird

Does anyone else have a mockingbird problem? We have a resident mockingbird who thinks he is king of the roost out here. He harasses the EABLs at all 3 of my nestboxes, eats the mealworms I put out for them (I saw him down 15 in a row this am.), etc. He also raises his family in some of the bushes and vines around our house.

I've read on this bbs that mockers don't kill the blues, but this guy has harassed them to the point that I'm really concerned about their nesting this year.

Linda Hunt in Eastern NC



From: elaine whittemore [mailto:bluebirdhousing"at"ellijay.com]
Sent: Saturday, February 05, 2005 8:54 AM
Subject: Re: Mockingbird

Linda,I don"t have any friction between our BB and Mocking birds here(so far !). My Mom and Dad had an EABB nest in front of their livingroom window (about 20' out). Across the driveway in a bush



From: Sheryl Bassi [mailto:sbassie"at"bellsouth.net]
Sent: Saturday, February 05, 2005 10:11 AM
Subject: RE: Mockingbird

Hi, Linda,

Don’t worry about Mr. Mockingbird. He may think he’s the king of the roost, but someone will soon put him in his place!

As I read your post, I had to laugh, as it reminded me of a number of “mockingbird incidents” I’ve witnessed:

One such Mr. Mockingbird tried to take over in my Mom’s yard last summer. She regularly puts the garden hose out to run down the drive to create cooling puddles for the local bird population to enjoy during the hot, dry summer months. Mr. M-bird decided to take advantage of the lovely cool puddles, and was not inclined to share with his feathered neighbors. Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird worked together to promptly run him out of their neighborhood!

I work at a local grain-handling facility. While we have far too many house sparrows to encourage Bluebirds on the premises, other species abound, as well as squirrels, chipmunks, field rats, etc. I’ve spent many lunch breaks on the patio, watching Mrs. Mockingbird discourage the local squirrel population from getting too close to her nest. I’ve also seen her go after a few two-legged creatures as well when they ventured to close to a bush on the patio that she calls home.

I’ve heard Mr. Mockingbird do his best to try to sing like a Bluebird. He does a pretty good imitation, but you can tell it’s not the real thing.

While the Mockingbird tries really hard to prove he’s “King of the Hill”, he doesn’t pose much of a threat to other creatures in the area. They have a way of putting him “in his place” when necessary. I’d be much more worried about house sparrows and/or snakes causing problems for my nestlings. As far as eating the mealworms are concerned, like most animals, Mr. M will take a free meal wherever he can find one. If we had experienced a truly severe winter, I believe Mr. and Mrs. B would be willing to mix it up with the Mockingbird, and any others that stood between them and a meal. >From what I’ve observed, Blues can be pretty tough when it comes to taking care of themselves and their little ones.

Hope you have a great nesting season!

Sheryl Bassi, Leland, MS



From: Michelle [mailto:shell7"at"cox.net]
Sent: Saturday, February 05, 2005 4:18 PM
Subject: RE: Mockingbird

Hey Linda, I have the same problem! I have had this problem for two nesting seasons. The mocker and blues fight all the time, he steals the worms, chases them from the nest boxes, all three of them, and tries to claim perches everywhere. The bluebirds are usually to fast for the mocker and move acrobatically better as well. I have seen them twirl to the ground together too. Last year, we had 4 mocker nestings and about 10 babies - whew! I can't stop the stealing of food, or the territorial thing, and they have about an acre they fight over. I don't think there is anything to do?
Good luck! I haven't won yet! LOL

Michelle Martin
Port Allen, LA/McComb, MS



From: Dottie Roseboom [mailto:rosedot"at"mtco.com]
Sent: Saturday, February 05, 2005 4:46 PM
Subject: Re: Mockingbird

I hope that no one gets upset by this, but Bluebirds do NOT have to be fed mealworms. Throughout the last several years, I've noticed an increase of mockingbird complaints, and most of them have involved mealworms being fed to Bluebirds.

In my opinion, perhaps it's not beneficial to be inviting excessive aggression between species by providing mealworms. Just an observation at my own feeders and from several different lists.

Dottie Roseboom
Peoria IL (central - zone 5)


From: Donald Edwards [mailto:pinecrestfarm"at"earthlink.net]
Sent: Saturday, February 05, 2005 9:55 PM
Subject: Re: Mockingbird

Linda, I would be very worried about the mockingbird when there will be baby bluebirds in the nest. The second year that I had a nest of young bluebirds the mocker harassed the feeding adult blues so much that they abandoned their babies and they died. I was very new and was watching them but did not realize what happened until too late. If I should ever see this happening again, I would little by little move the nestbox of the blues out of the mocker's territory. If your blues are not nesting yet, it would be better to move the box now than take a chance. I was not feeding mealwoorms at the time so that was not an issue. Ruth Edwards, Westport, MA



From: Kathy Johnson [mailto:krj"at"patmedia.net]
Sent: Wednesday, February 09, 2005 2:07 PM
Subject: Re: Mockingbird

I've just had a mocker move into my yard over the last 3 days and it's like a bird ghost town here now. I had three separate feeding stations, out of view of each other set up, and all were busy with birds most of the daylight hours. Now they all sit empty. And the mocker doesn't even eat the food, but he won't let any of the other birds go near any of the feeders. He just attacked and killed a nuthatch that tried to land on one of the feeders.

Does anyone have any advice?

Thanks!
Kathy Johnson
Flemington, NJ (central)



From: Chris&Crystal Hill [mailto:crystaljhill"at"msn.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 09, 2005 3:34 PM
Subject: Re: Mockingbird

I have just about the same as you describe, just over the past week a Mockingbird has been chasing the birds away from the feeding stations we have set up in the front and backyard. And as you said the Mocker does not eat the food, but stands guard for around 1-2 minutes at a time on the hooks above or on the feeder tops. I feed safflower only, suet, and peanuts... I feed my mealworms in an enclosed feeder with 1.5 holes on either end.
However, I think the Mocker can see the mealies through the plexiglass and that is why he chases away the other birds. Last year I had a problem with a Mockingbird eating the mealies from the dome type feeder. I offer the peanuts in them now............. I did not have much problem last year during nesting season........And I had Chickaee, Tufted Titmouse, and Eastern Bluebird nestings....

Crystal Hill
Social Circle, Georgia



From: Kathy Johnson [mailto:krj"at"patmedia.net]
Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2005 12:21 PM
Subject: Re: Mockingbird

I just did a little research and found the following on the Texas Park & Wildlife website
(http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/nature/wild/vertebrate/birds/mockbird.htm):

"Though territorial all year around, during the nesting season which falls between March and August, mockingbirds are especially aggressive.
They regularly may attack starlings and grackles and even cats if they feel threatened."

I just had my first sighting of bluebirds this morning - both the male and female entered our nestbox - only to be chased away repeatedly by the mockingbird, until they gave up and left.

Kathy Johnson
Flemington, NJ



From: Tree Greenwood [mailto:doctree"at"crosslink.net]
Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2005 4:54 PM
Subject: Re: Mockingbirds (long)

On Thu 10 Feb 2005 at 12:20, Kathy Johnson <krj"at"patmedia.net>
wrote:
> I just did a little research and found ... [snip to..]
>
> "Though territorial all year around, during the nesting season which
> falls between March and August, mockingbirds are especially
> aggressive. They may attack starlings and grackles and even cats if
> they feel threatened."

Hi, Kathy and all,

Nesting Mockingbirds will even attack people. The back of my head was pecked last year while picking raspberries.
Wasn't very painful and I shooed the critter away. She then did the 'I'm wounded, come eat me' melodrama out on the lawn. I discovered a nest of partly-feathered Mockingbird hatchlings sitting perfectly still in the raspberry brambles. We had another pair of Mockingbirds nest in a Forsythia bush. We photographed that pair from nest building through fledging four. They got used to my wife and I near the nest and no longer considered us a threat.

Mockingbirds are similar to many other birds. The male chooses and defends a territory, then goes through some amazing mating displays, hopping straight up into the air and displaying the white on his wings while singing out his entire repertoire of songs and calls to impress the females. Male Mockingbirds choose high places that are open for their mating displays; lamp posts, feeder poles, Purple Martin houses and such. Even though they probably won't nest until March or April, males are claiming and defending territory now (as many are noticing). I love the displays, antics and songs of male Mockingbirds enough that I tolerate their aggression.

Even though your link says Mockingbirds nest from 1 to 50 feet off the ground, I've never seen a Mockingbird nest higher than 4', usually in a dense bush or bramble. As noisy as the male can be, he and his mate stay very quiet around their chosen nest site. If you approach it, their first action will be to call at you to distract you while you're still 20 or 30' away. As you (or anything else) get closer, both the male and female will get aggressive and may even attack when you're 10' or so from the nest.
If you get even closer, say 5' or so, the female may make a desperate attempt to distract you by pretending to have a broken wing, scooting along the ground and moving away from her nest.

> I just had my first sighting of bluebirds this morning - both the male
> and female entered our nestbox - only to be chased away repeatedly by
> the mockingbird, until they gave up and left.

Kathy, I'm afraid there are only a few things you can do.

First and easiest, wait. The male Mockingbird's territory starts very large. He drives away all other birds with the exception of female Mockingbirds that are potential mates for the season. Once the pair start to build a nest, the size of the territory defended from all birds will shrink from an acre or more down to 20 to 50' from the nest site although no other Mockingbirds will be tolerated within sight of the nestsite.

You can try moving your feeder(s) and/or nestbox(s) to a place out-of-sight of the dominating male Mockingbird. I use annual vines on trellises to separate my yard.

Last resort is active control. Those super-squirter water guns that all the kids had to have last year are great for harmlessly discouraging an aggressive bird from taking over. You don't even have to hit him more than once; the swoosh of water zinging past is enough to encourage him to move on. Note that once he's nesting, it's too late under current laws. You can't legally interfere with or harass a nesting native bird... but by the time they nest, the Mockers really aren't much of a bother.

At my home, my resident male Mockingbird is going crazy trying to reclaim his territory. For the first time in my life, we have HUNDREDS of Goldfinches and House Finches along with our other feeder birds. Our Mocker will sit on top of his chosen perch--an 8' wooden 4x4 post--and try to chase any bird that comes near. His problem is that so many birds are coming to the six feeder stations plus suet feeders. While he chases 30 Goldfinches from one station, 25 more sneak in behind him to gobble some nyger at another pole. He sees them and goes to clear them out, leaving unprotected stations. He's frantic to clear out his territory and not very effective. He can't be everywhere at once. He's fun to watch even if he annoys the finches and sparrows. Oh, and he keeps the EUST out of our yard so he can't be all bad.

Take care,

R J 'Tree' Greenwood
Catlett VA


From: Evelyn Cooper [mailto:emcooper"at"bayou.com]
Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2005 7:13 PM
Subject: O/T Mockingbirds

Recently we had discussion about Mockers harassing our birds in our backyards. Someone gave the advice of using some kind of squirt gun to scare them away. In reality, that is harassing a bird protected by law. It is against the law. We need to search for more suitable solutions that we can pass on to the general public that would not be going against the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. There does not seem to be an easy answer.

Evelyn Cooper....Delhi, LA



From: Chris&Crystal Hill [mailto:crystaljhill"at"msn.com]
Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2005 7:33 PM
Subject: Re: O/T Mockingbirds

Not sure about the others here that posted, but the Mocker we had running off the other birds has calmed down quiet a bit. I only see him occasionally at the feeders now...

Crystal Hill
Social Circle, Georgia



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2005 9:00 AM
Subject: Birds annoying each other

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
In our yard we have a Cooper Hawk that constantly dive bombs the flock of crows. When there were young crows in the group last summer the hawk would chase them out of the neighborhood and the adult crows would simply continue to eat. Now the whole group ignores the Cooper Hawk.

I watched a Mockingbird KILL a gray squirrel last week! It was dive bombing the squirrel all the way across a wide open yard in front of our local church. The squirrel raced dodging this way and that with the mocker right on it's tail. In a panic the squirrel leaped out in the street heading for the safety of the trees on the other side....missed one oncoming car only to get smacked with one just before it made it to the other side. A half hour later the mocker was sitting above the dead squirrel watching intently from the safety of the tree limbs. EVERY time a car flew by the wind made the tail of the very dead squirrel flip over...EVERY time the tail flipped the mocker dove down off her perch and slapped that dead squirrel AGAIN!

Mockingbirds defend a whole yard filled with berries and will vigorously attack flocks of robins, starlings and cedar waxwings protecting these fruits until birds become desperate for food. Thus saving these berries for a time when food really is getting short.

Mockingbirds attack cats, dogs, crows, hawks, snakes and many other predators of birds driving them from their territory. These predators kill far more young bluebirds than the rare abandonment caused by the competition between a mockingbird and a bluebird.

I have three nestboxes near a utility trailer sales parking lot. Last year they had 8 "Goose Neck Trailers" lined up on the lot. This is catty corner from a huge feed mill and just down the street from Wal-Mart. It is VERY common for bluebirds and Carolina Wrens to nest in the lower part of a "Goose Neck" trailer hitch when the trailer is in someone's yard. Out of the
8 trailers there were two that contained bluebird nests and one with babies while only three trailers down there was a Mockingbird nesting in one of these trailer necks also feeding baby mockers. I had House Sparrows in my boxes next to this sales lot.

To me it would make sense that other species of birds would benefit by nesting close to a nesting Mockingbird since they will attempt to drive off every daytime predator! KK


From: Evelyn Cooper [mailto:emcooper"at"bayou.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2005 9:32 AM
Subject: RE: Birds annoying each other

Here's my story. Ms. Mocker has dominated the front and side yards of my house for three years. The Bluebirds could only nest in the east nestbox which was way out on the edge of my yard. However, last season, Mr. and Mrs.
Blue became very aggressive (I am sure it is a different pair) and flogged Ms. Mocker out of the yard and kept possession of it. On the second cycle, they nested in the backyard, (first time in 3 years). Ms. Mocker would sit in the trees on the edge of the yard and sing like a Bluebird. It was hilarious because it was so LOUD and she missed several notes that were not quite right! She sang all day long, but she did not dare come in the yard.
She has not shown her face yet either.

The off-springs were very aggressive too. I saw two of them team up and run a Cardinal out of the yard. Makes me happy to see some bluebird aggressiveness.

Evelyn Cooper
Delhi, LA



From: Chris&Crystal Hill [mailto:crystaljhill"at"msn.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2005 9:57 AM
Subject: Re: Birds annoying each other

The mocker we have in our yard I am not sure male or female, but lives in the brush at a fence line in the back of our yard. For the past 2 years we have noticed him/her always returning to the same spot in the evening and waking us with song in the Spring/Summer. This year the mocker was chasing the other birds from the feeders. But as in my earlier post that has all but stopped......Maybe he/she found a mate...... I do recall that last year when I fed the mealworms out of the dome style feeder a mocker sneaking some, maybe the same bird. I switched to the enclosed feeder this year.

I have not noticed in the 2 spring/summers we have hosted cavity nesters any mockers bothering them.

Crystal Hill
Social Circle, Georgia



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Thursday, March 24, 2005 10:06 AM
Subject: mockingbirds and cedar waxwings

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
We hear a lot of people on this list who do NOT like the state bird of Texas or their local Mockingbirds. As the berries are getting thinner and thinner on my trees and bushes in the yard the Mockingbirds are getting more and more frantic at guarding the last of the plants with berries.

Shawn and I watched last night as a Mockingbird was trying to chase a small flock of Cedar Waxwings away from a Buford Holly tree. The mocker chased one of the waxwings around and around about an acre or two, they flew through tree tops and limbs and around bushes at breath taking speeds! How any birds can fly at top speed and dodge limbs and watch the attacking bird just a few feet behind them is amazing. We watched as cedar wax wings changed out feeding on the berry bush and then became the decoy while others in the flock fed on the berries and allowed themselves to be chased by this fighter plane of a mocker....

Anyway just a few minutes ago the mocker "Shot down" one of the cedar waxwings and they crashed right on the edge of my driveway. The battle shifted to deadly combat with beaks and legs and wings flailing each other.
I was desperately trying to watch out the window as the gladiator type combat raged on while shutting down my photo program and retrieving my camera memory card, programming a much too complicated camera from close-up to telephoto and trying to quietly open the front door to capture the battle still in progress not 20 feet away.

My frantic running around spooked our beagle into rushing out to break up the bird fight....I ended up on the scene in time to hold the Cedar Waxwing during it's very last breaths. I never would have believed a mockingbird could or would be able to chase down, catch and then kill a cedar waxwing.

The damage is very similar to what you see a House Sparrow do to a bluebird cornered in a nestbox. The battle could not have lasted more than 60 seconds. The mocker is guarding the holly tree again. Birds are singing their mating songs and the crows want their breakfast. I wonder what humans will do to each other if they ever think they are about to run out of food or fuel...KK


From: Chris&Crystal Hill [mailto:crystaljhill"at"msn.com]
Sent: Saturday, April 02, 2005 8:27 AM
Subject: Mockingbird Problem Need Help

Okay I have been complaining I have 3 empty boxes and no birds really checking them. I also have been complaining that a Mocker has tried to get in the enclosed feeder and runs the birds off from the feeder.

Well finally this morning, a break in the rainy, stormy weather. The sun is shining for a change a bit windy and cool, but clear!

I have EABL, TUTI checking out boxes in earnest and what do I see that big ol fat Mocker running them off!!!

What do I do?

Crystal~Georgia



From: Linda Gordon [mailto:lmgordon"at"bellsouth.net]
Sent: Saturday, April 02, 2005 3:36 PM
Subject: Re: Mockingbird Problem Need Help

Hi Crystal,

I have the very same problem with a Mocker. I had also been feeding mealworms that were not in an enclosed feeder. Well, the Mocker found them and just wouldn't share with the EABL. I have now ordered a mealworm feeder and am anxiously waiting for it to arrive.

My EABL have been trying to get to the house but the Mocker continues to chase them away. I'm afraid he may have succeeded as I haven't seen them for two days now. I have has a TUTI nest in this particular box for the past two years and they are also trying to get to the box without success.

I too, am interested in what advice others may have to offer.

Linda
Boiling Springs, SC



From: Kathy Johnson [mailto:krj"at"patmedia.net]
Sent: Saturday, April 02, 2005 8:02 PM
Subject: Re: Mockingbird Problem Need Help

I have the same problem. Everytime some blues come to check out my
nestboxes, the mocker chases them away. It chases everything, even the
squirrels and crows! I saw the mocker ram into a titmouse flying away
from a feeder - when the titmouse fell to the ground, the mocker pecked
it to death.

I put up other bird feeders and the goldfinches and juncos have learned
to rotate to another feeder as they get chased from one feeder. But the
bluebirds just leave.

Kathy Johnson
Flemington, NJ


From: eindians [mailto:eindians"at"zoominternet.net]
Sent: Saturday, April 02, 2005 8:08 PM
Subject: Re: Mockingbird Problem Need Help

Linda,Crystal,etc.

I have never had any mocker problems,but have had my share of head aches from raccoons,hawks,blue jays,grackles,brown thrashers,catbirds and robins.(EUST and HOSP not listed because I dispose of those vermin) What I do is eliminate the food source for a while,be it seed,suet or mealworms. In my experiences after a few days the critters you are having problems with will move on unless they have decided to take up residence in your yard or very close by. To eliminate coon problems in early spring ( after winter hibernation) I feed only enough seeds that the birds will clean up in a few hours,and no suet at all.I hope this is of some help.

Good luck and happy birding.

Evan - 15 miles South of Youngstown,Ohio


From: Chris&Crystal Hill [mailto:crystaljhill "at"msn.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2005 10:38 AM
Subject: Mocking Bird Problem - Gone?

Well that mocker is still around but now leaving the boxes and feeders alone.................nature is amazing...........

Crystal~Georgia


From: Trish Culpepper [mailto:trishkcully"at"earthlink.net]
Sent: Tuesday, June 07, 2005 11:03 AM
Subject: New Bluebird Family Possibly...

Trish - Frankston, TX
I have seen a new BB couple checking out housing in my yard. They seem most interested in the 16-compartment PM wooden house, but then fly over to the vacant BB house. Hmmmm.....which will they choose? From the looks of Momma BB, they better decide quick....she's pretty fat! If they choose the PM housing, should I put up hole restrictors? I believe the PM holes are larger.

Second question. A mockingbird likes to perch on top of the PM house and, when he does, the BBs fly away. Mockingbirds don't bother BB nests/eggs, do they?



From: Don Edwards [mailto:pinecrestfarm"at"earthlink.net]
Sent: Tuesday, June 07, 2005 9:30 PM
Subject: Re: New Bluebird Family Possibly...

Yes, Trish, Mockingbirds do bother nesting bluebirds. I had one pester a bluebird with young so much that the blues abandoned their babies. I was new as a bluebird monitor and never would have thought that they would abandon young but they did. They don't want the nest, they want the whole territory! Ruth Edwards. Westport, MA


From: bookfanaticef-bluebird"at"yahoo.com [mailto:bookfanaticef-bluebird"at"yahoo.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 07, 2005 9:49 PM
Subject: Re: "mockers" and bluebirds (was new bluebird family possibility..)

I'm not sure if mockingbirds would bother the bluebird nest/eggs, as I don't know that they recognize cavities/nest boxes as nests, though if they do, they might try to eat the eggs. They almost certainly would see the bluebirds as encroaching on their territory, and if they are aggressive defenders, they might chase off the bluebirds, but maybe not. A lot would probably depend on how far away from the boxes the mockers have their nest. It helps that the two species aren't competing for the same nest space--if the mockingbirds were cavity-nesters, things might be more intense.

I have several bluebird boxes in fields with mockingbirds--who also have active nests right now. These are wild mockers, and their behavior is slightly different from city mockers, being a bit less aggressive and defensive than their city cousins, and far less abundant in these brushy fields than in suburban neighborhoods. So far, I've noticed no real problems with the mockers being nearby the bluebirds. They get along pretty well, overall.

2 short anecdotes concerning mockers & bluebirds:
One mocker has been vigorously singing near one of the boxes, sometimes perching nearby, and not infrequently displacing one of the adult bluebirds from that perch (not aggressively, he just decides he wants to sit there). The bluebird just flies to another perch. Those EABL are on their 2nd set of eggs, and should hatch soon. This pair is overall very skittish (the female often flies 50 to even 100+yds away when I scare her from near the box), so I'm not surprised the mocker manages to displace them off their perches, but the nest itself is fine, and being taken care of by the EABL. The mocker is an accomplished mimic (I've now noted imitations of at least 8 different species calls/song in his song), and frequently imitates the EABL song. I have to be very careful when making notes in my notebook that the EABL song I hear nearby is actually the bluebird male, and not the mocker!

I do wonder, though if another mocker wasn't part of the reason a bluebird pair delayed re-nesting. The pair lost their first nest (eggs) some time ago (mammal predation), and continued to hang around the box, obviously still claiming it, as they would perch on top, or at the hole, and the female often would fly out of it when I walked up. A mocker has his territory, and come to find out, an active nest in a tree less than 20 yds from the bluebird box--which the bluebirds liked to perch in. A couple weeks ago, I often saw the mocker perched on top of the bluebird box, and chasing the male EABL around once in a while. The EABL now have a 2nd set of eggs in the box, as of last week, and I haven't seen the mocker quite so much (I think he has chicks now). The almost 1 month delay for the bluebirds re-nesting might have been because of the mocker, but it seems more likely they were just not quite ready yet--they might have been adding! new nest material to the old nest, and the female might not have been ready to re-lay--the pair were always in the immediate area of the box, despite the presence of the mocker, though they no longer seem to perch in the tree with the mocker nest.

Overall, though, I think it depends on the individual birds--not all of them behave the same. If the mocker is very aggressive, and the bluebirds very skittish, then they might be scared off. But if the mocker is less aggressive, and the bluebirds themselves defensive, the EABL probably won't be bothered. Even the most skittish of my bluebirds seem to be pretty tenacious when they're nesting, and reluctant to give up on a box just because another species is around. If the EABL do go somewhere else, it may have nothing to do with the mockers. You'll just have to wait and see. Good luck!
Elizabeth F
Gainesville, FL


From: Autumn L. Kruer [mailto:autumnk"at"iglou.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2005 2:08 AM
Subject: RE: "mockers" and bluebirds (was new bluebird family possibility..)

I have a resident mockingbird and never have trouble with it and the blues. They seem to be comfortable neighbors, with the mockingbird only attempting to run out “new birds.” One thing I really like about having a mockingbird around – I know what else is around. Right now, the mocker is singing “the bluebird song.” I know when it’s him because he sings it much louder and robustly than the warbling little bluebird does. If an English sparrow is hanging around, then the mocker lets me know, as well as when the redtail hawk comes back, etc. Sometimes it cracks me up.

I’ve also noticed Starlings will mimic redtail hawks.

Autumn



From: Lana Hunt [mailto:lanahunt"at"kcp.uky.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2005 10:17 AM
Subject: RE: New Bluebird Family Possibly...

Oh no Evelyn, I have mocking birds in my yard also. One was even sitting
in the meal worm feeder. I know there are two families of mocking birds, I
saw their fledglings. I will do as you suggest, scaring them away if I see
them near the box, is there anything else to discourage them from coming
around the area? Lana


From: Trish Culpepper [mailto:trishkcully"at"earthlink.net]
Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2005 11:34 AM
Subject: Re: New Bluebird Family Possibly

Thanks for the idea, Paula! I hadn't thought of it. I'll be sure to give an update. Thanks, also, to those of you who mentioned the "double housing" idea on the PM houses. That makes good sense, allowing the PMs more room to escape a predator.



From: Trish Culpepper [mailto:trishkcully"at"earthlink.net]
Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2005 11:37 AM
Subject: Re: New Bluebird Family Possibly...

Lana....I could never chase off all the mockingbirds around our property.
They are just everywhere. Yesterday, I went out back to let my dogs out and
EIGHT mockingbirds flew out of my backyard, some on the ground eating seed,
some on the bird feeders and some on the fence. I have seen an isolated
mockingbird on the mealworm feeder or perched on top of the PM house, but
other than that, they haven't had any conflict with my EABLs so far. But,
I''m keeping an eye on them!!



From: Evelyn Cooper [mailto:emcooper"at"bayou.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2005 12:17 PM
Subject: RE: New Bluebird Family Possibly...

I really hope your luck holds with no conflict with the other birds especially that you have so many Mockers.

Most of the stories and calls for help I hear and get is that the Mocker is dominant and running off their birds.

There is more than one for sure at my place as my yard and house is surrounded by woods. I just came in from going to the mailbox and could hear one singing so loud on the outer edge of the yard.

Yesterday, I ran the water hose down the driveway for the birds to bathe in the puddles. I looked out and two juvenile Bluebirds were on one end of the puddles which ran about 30 ft. A Mocker landed on the other end and was not happy to bathe down there and drink, it had to come up to the other end and run the juveniles off.

In July and August when it is so terribly hot and I run the water for them, larger birds such as Blue Jays, Northern Flickers, Red Bellied Woodpeckers, Robins all come and bathe. They seem to congregate on one end and the smaller birds which are very large in number get on the other end. The Mocker is not in this puddle party. Guess they are out numbered.

Evelyn Cooper
Delhi, LA


From: roy pischer [mailto:tlp4456"at"msn.com]
Sent: Sunday, July 03, 2005 11:19 AM
Subject: Territorial Mockingbirds

A pair of mockingbirds nested in the forsythia bush in my backyard, and last Wednesday, the babies hatched. I've read and witnessed how territorial mockingbirds are, but this pair is terrorizing the pair of bluebirds that have nested in my backyard nest box! The male mockingbird even chased the male bluebird off his clothesline pole perch, that is just 4 feet from the bluebird nest box! I have moved the mealworm feeders completely out of the backyard (about 45 feet away from original location), but is there anything else I can do?

I am pretty sure that the backyard bluebirds have just hatched their second brood, and I KNOW they can find food on their own, but I hate to take away one of their primary food sources so suddenly... Any ideas out there??

Trudy Pischer
Willard, MO



From: Kate Arnold [mailto:koscharn"at"cox.net]
Sent: Sunday, July 03, 2005 1:01 PM
Subject: RE: Territorial Mockingbirds

Your mealworm feeder may be a good source of food, but even in the wild, good sources disappear quickly and birds have to look somewhere else to find a meal. At this time of year, insects are very plentiful in most locations.

If the mealworm feeder is only 45 feet away from its original location, it really isn’t far enough to make much difference. Bluebirds, mockingbirds and others fly hundreds of feet routinely. Remember that a “typical”
bluebird spacing recommendation is 300 feet between nestboxes, so picture their territories as at least 300 feet across. Other species have even larger territories.

I have mockingbirds here, too, and they will occasionally sit on a nestbox, then they move on and everything is fine. We bluebirders see every little squabble as a major problem, but these birds have evolved with each other, and inter- and intra-species competition is normal.

One of the problems with mealworm feeders is that they draw all kinds of birds. Making birds find their own food sources means they may spread out a little more. Some people put out only a few mealworms as a treat but don’t leave them out all the time to tempt other birds.

Kate Arnold
Paris, TX, 100 mi NE of Dallas


From: mrtony8 [mailto:philip.berry"at"mchsi.com]
Sent: Monday, July 04, 2005 8:35 AM
Subject: Re: Territorial Mockingbirds

Mockers will do this. You should remove the mealie feeder and it should eliminate the problem. My mockers fight the blues constantly, so I feed mealies only when the mockers are busy elsewhere. But their relationship is pretty good in that the mockers actually drive off HOSP when they come near the box.
Phil Berry



From: <cflindberg"at"bellsouth.net>
To: <bluebird-l"at"cornell.edu>
Sent: Thursday, November 24, 2005 7:33 AM
Subject: Mockingbird

I'm having problems with mockingbirds chasing bluebirds from feeders. I have four feeders plus thistle feeder & mealworm/ banqet feeder. Mockingbird never visits feeders, always goes to banquet feeder. Would it help if I placed another feeder a distance away from the others? Any suggestions? Thanks.

Cal Lindberg, Lawrenceville, Ga.



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Friday, November 25, 2005 8:03 AM
Subject: mockingbirds

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
Several times a year the list hears from people who are having trouble with mockingbirds chasing the other birds in their yard. Mockingbirds defend a food source all year round. They enjoy sitting on overhead wires running to your house so that it gives them a better view of birds, cats, hawks ETC that they might consider a threat to their territory. If you have berry producing plants and shrubs that they can nest in or several trees then you have just provided habitat for one family of mockingbirds!

It does not matter that there are 30 pounds of berries in that holly tree and the mockingbird will only need a few pounds for the whole winter they DO NOT want to share a single berry with any other species! They will fly to the attack any time they feel their territory has been invaded. Since you have the perfect habitat even if your mocker gets nailed by a sharp shin hawk another one will move in to claim the territory in just a matter of days. All because there is food, water and shelter that fits their needs.

Same goes for the dominant hummingbird at a single feeder. You simply need to provide enough berry producing bushes and trees far enough apart to make it impossible for the mocker to protect all of them. Instead of one feeder with peanut butter/lard mixes or raisins/dried fruits you need several in different areas out of sight of one another. Instead of one or two nestboxes you need at least ten scattered around your city block:-))

Spend a little time watching the mocker and you will see it guarding a fairly large triangle, normally three berry producing trees or bushes and guarding everything in the middle. These birds don't honor fences and your whole yard might be it's territory. I have seen one mockingbird trying to defend more than 300 feet of fence line that was a smorgasbord of invasive fruit and berry vines, shrubs and trees. It would spend the entire day patrolling up and down the line. Singing away from the tree tops when no birds were near but dashing off at the mere sight of an intruder, harassing them no matter how large they were until they left the mockers territory. KK


From: stan blaylock [mailto:birdwatcher103"at"bellsouth.net]
Sent: Monday, March 06, 2006 6:35 PM
Subject: Mocking birds

Mocking birds are chasing Matt & Katy away from the nest box. Can I dispatch them with my air rifle.... or do I need to do something else?

Stan Blaylock
Pelham, AL (Birmingham area)


From: lviolett [mailto:lviolett"at"earthlink.net]
Sent: Monday, March 06, 2006 10:41 PM
Subject: Re: Mocking birds

Mockers are great birds. Since they are native, they are legally protected (you can't shoot them or molest them in any way).
Linda Violett
Yorba Linda, Calif.



From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 12:53 PM
Subject: Mockingbirds and mealworm feeders

Stan wrote: Mocking birds are chasing Matt & Katy away from the nest box. Can I dispatch them with my air rifle.... or do I need to do something else?

Stan - the downside of putting out a lot of mealworms is attracting other birds that also relish these treats. As Linda indicated, it is illegal to harm native birds without a permit (which you would never get under these circumstances. It's hard enough to get permits to do research!) A few
options:

- Only offer enough mealworms that the bluebirds will eat at one visit (10-15 per bird). Train them to come to a whistle or other signal (mine show up when the screen door bangs open) as soon as you put out the worms. You can do this by pairing the signal with filling the feeder.
- Use a cage style feeder that only allows access to bluebird sized birds. See http://www.sialis.org/bluebirdstore.htm#feeder for some suppliers. Unfortunately most are probably 1.5" openings, which is too small for mountain or western bluebirds. The cage has to be big enough to put the mealworms out of reach of the mockers.

Other birds that enjoy mealworms include tufted titmice, carolina wrens, nuthatches, chickadees, red bellied woodpeckers and bluejays. I made the mistake one year of "training" robins to go to the feeder.



From: rob barron [mailto:rebel1956"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 1:29 PM
Subject: RE: Mockingbirds and mealworm feeders

I think Carolina wrens are more easily trained than Eastern Bluebirds. I put out 15 mealworms or wax worms and the Carolina wrens eat them all in 5 minutes. I've started putting mealworms in the claimed but still empty BB nest box. I kind of enjoy seeing them all eat mealworms and they aren't that expensive, so I put up another mealworm feeder on the other side of the house.

Mockingbirds bring me back to being a kid laying in bed at night and hearing them through the screen windows. I think they are just as cool as Bluebirds in their own way. American Robins coming back north meant the chipmunks and woodchucks would be coming out of hibernation and the apple trees would be blossoming soon. All native birds are fascinating to me. Loving Bluebirds doesn't mean all the other native birds that interfere are bad. They all evolved together, and for a lot of them we have made things easier. I can't think of many other native birds other than Purple Martins and California Condors that get as much human help as Bluebirds. Sometimes I wonder what we're doing to the Bluebird gene pool by coddling them as much as we do.

Rob Barron



From: Sara Ann [mailto:sawright"at"direcway.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 5:57 PM
Subject: Re: Mocking birds

Years ago, when we were in town, we had a mockingbird who spent his days on top of the basketball goal, surveying his domain. One day, I heard all sorts of 'peeps' and went out to find some fledgling sparrows under a small tree. Mama sparrow flew back and forth all day, trying to keep everyone fed, scolding any who tried to explore. When Mama sparrow would leave, the mockingbird would yell at any baby that ventured away, and if one went too far astray, 'uncle' would fly off to find Mama. She'd come tearing around the corner of the house, yelling her head off at her babies, while 'uncle' would return to his perch atop the basketball goal. This went on all day. I don't know who was more tired by nightfall, the sparrow or the mockingbird!

I really was fascinated by the interaction between two different birds.

On 23 acres, we.....or, I should say, our birds.......really are so fortunate to have enough space that there's very little fussing. Blue jays don't hog the feeders. Thrashers don't run off other birds. DH grew up wandering the woods, and he knows every single bird song and call. When a mockingbird begins his repertoire, DH can rattle off every bird being imitated. I can't even hear that fast! But even I recognize the sound of a telephone ringing from inside the house. THAT sound kept us running for a couple of years til we figured out where the 'ringing' was coming from!

Sara Ann Wright
Ozarks of Missouri



From: mrtony8 [mailto:philip.berry"at"mchsi.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 7:10 PM
Subject: Re: Mockingbirds and mealworm feeders

the problem with a signal is that mockers can hear too. mine come
immediately when they hear my bb whistle.
Phil Berry


From: Trish Culpepper [mailto:trishkcully"at"earthlink.net]
Sent: Thursday, March 09, 2006 2:39 PM
Subject: Question about EABL and first nest of the Spring...UPDATE

Trish Culpepper - Frankston, TX

I posted on March 6th about the empty EABL nest in Mockingbird territory and wondered if it had been abandoned. I've not seen Daddy BB at the box since then, but today I checked the box and there are two beautiful little BB eggs in there!! YEAH!!!! Guess I've just been missing their visits to the nest. …



From: Evelyn Cooper [mailto:emcooper"at"bayou.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 08, 2006 9:31 PM
Subject: Re: Getting harrassed by a mocker

Rob wrote: > I love all the Mimidae family.I think they are some of the prettiest
> singers in the bird world, especially the Brown Thrasher. I have a
> pair building a nest in a round Yew in the middle of the back yard.The
> Mockigbirds did chase the Bluebirds for a while but the male EABL gave
> it right back and they ended up nesting in the Norway Maple close to
> the Bluebird nest box, as did a brown trasher pair. The male thrasher
> loves to perch on the BB house and eventually the male EABL just
> ignored him since ge didn't stay long. All three chased HOSP and any
> poor gray squirrel that made the mistake of coming near that tree.


Oh, Rob, my Ms. Mocker needs to take singing lessons! Up until two years ago, she dominated and ruled the yard, screaming and running off anything with feathers that got in the yard. I did some screaming too, but she would then sit in the tree right outside the yard and sing loudly.

However, this very aggressive male and his offsprings changed the picture. I really get a charge out of about 5 Bluebirds running 3 Mockingbirds from the yard.

Back to the singing. Last year was an upsetting surprise for Ms. Mocker when Pa Blue chased her out of the yard. She would sit in the tree on the edge of the yard and sing to the top of her voice a "bluebird song" and it was really pitiful. She missed some notes and Bluebirds don't sing that LOUD. I heard her again this year and can tell it is no Bluebird singing. I am so glad that my Bluebirds are aggressive as I now have two pair nesting in my yard.

Evelyn



From: teen [mailto:foxfire.1"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Sunday, August 13, 2006 2:05 PM
Subject: Mockingbirds

Good Afternoon Everyone,

This afternoon I had 3 Mockingbirds that attacked my Bluebirds and chased them away from the nesting house. First they attacked the female and she flew away and as the male was trying to defend her they attacked him. What does one do about that ? Still being the *new kid on the block* I realize I have much to learn but does every bird attack the BB's ? Please advise me here...

On the brighter side of life, I do not have anything like the number of Sparrows that I had when I first came here, thanks to the help of a friend and also a husband that is a sharp shooter with a pellet rifle. I have also stopped filling the feeders and now feed the Cardinals and Mourning Doves on the ground. I would also like to report that my Hummingbird population has grown so much that counting them is out of the question. I have so enjoyed their chatter and it is endless.

Since giving my heart to the beautiful Bluebird I now devote as much time as I can building houses.
Everyone on my Christmas will get a house this year and if necessary help installing it. In fact, I gave two nesting houses to my cousin last week for her birthday and she was thrilled. She lives here, close to me but has a large farm in Tennessee and I am trying to find the time for a Bluebird trail up there. Football season will take much of my time until the season is over, especially the weekends.
In fact, I have to be in Nashville at Vanderbilt for 'Dore Jam' at 4 p.m.
and it is a couple of hours away so I need to scurry post haste.

You all have a good afternoon and please let me know what to do about the Mockingbirds.

Thanks,

Teen
Huntsville, Alabama



From: denisefarmer"at"comcast.net [mailto:denisefarmer"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Sunday, August 13, 2006 4:25 PM
Subject: RE: Mockingbirds

Teen,

Not sure what you can do about the Mocking birds. My resident Mocking Bird does not see to attack or bother any of my other birds nor do my Blue Jays.
I have seen many reports on this list and Project Feeder Watch about both begin aggressive and I just don't seem to see that here.

Denise
Parkville, MD



From: Duane Rice [mailto:drbirdsong4"at"hotmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, August 13, 2006 9:33 PM
Subject: RE: Mockingbirds

Teen,
It seems from what I've observed in the last few days, everybody is "attacking" everybody. The birds that overwinter here,Mockers,Bluebirds,Cardinals,etc. that is.
I think what you are seeing is just a phase. After nesting season the birds try to sort out territories and rank, just like they do in the early spring.
The big difference is that most of these birds are juviniles. The juvies are testing their prowess,etc. At my place (just down the road from you) the bluebird fledglings, amoung others, are harassing each other all over the place. Don't take it personally, they'll sort it all out soon enough. It's just nature's way of making sure the neighborhood doesn't become overcrowded. Hope this helps you understand,that what appears to be chaos, is really order.
Dr. Birdsong
Pleasant View,Tn.


From: owner-BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu [mailto:owner-BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Perez Veronica
Sent: Monday, August 14, 2006 9:22 AM
Subject: RE: Mockingbirds

I see the mockers territorial only when they have their young close by. I actually consider them part of my flock since they don't seem to bother the birds at my other feeders. They are 'mealie' hogs though. I'll even have a mocker come up to the deck door to let me know that it's past their feeding time or if there was not enough mealies set out for them (LOL) . They tried to run out a robin who was sharing their mealies..but the robin wisened up and does a sneak attack under the bushes to get to the mealies . I do intervene sometimes though and take away the mealworm feeder if I see overly aggressive behavior from them.
That prevents the scuffles for a while and the mocker will tolerate the robin.I'm going to stop feeding all the birds though once i set up my BB house in the front yard.



Subject: RE: Mockingbirds
From: <denisefarmer"at"comcast.net>
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2006 19:51:08 -0400

Personally I don't think there is a reason to stop feeding once you get BB's or set out your boxes. I think they can coexist very well, but I could be wrong. I will feed sunflower and peanuts forever and hope if I am lucky enough to get BB's that I can feed them suet and Mealies.

Does anyone else that has BB's feed other birds and if so does this cause the BB's to go away? Or did you have BB's and they left due to feeding?

Denise
Parkville, MD


ubject: EABL nestings and feeders
From: "Mary Beth Roen" <mbroen"at"hotmail.com>
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2006 19:41:06 -0500

Denise and all,

I have had Eastern Bluebirds nesting in a box in my back yard for years.
Across the yard about 50 yards away, I feed sunflower seeds, safflower
seeds, thistle seeds, peanuts, peanut butter and suet. I have had no
interference with the EABLs nesting. I am also lucky that I don't have a
HOSP problem. I live in a rural area and they must all stay close to the
farms with a ready food supply.

Mary Roen, River Falls, WI


Subject: RE: Mockingbirds
From: Perez Veronica <v_perez11"at"yahoo.com>
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2006 06:23:11 -0700 (PDT)

You're probably right ,Denise. I will still feed the seed eaters I think. But with the mealies I might try to experiment with that. The mocker might harrass the bluebirds even if I set out mealies for them in an enclosed feeder and if I'm trying to attract my first nesting I would like to avoid a conflict like that.



From: Duane Rice [mailto:drbirdsong4"at"hotmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, August 15, 2006 11:15 AM
Subject: RE: Mockingbirds

Ya'll,
My feeding regiment usually includes everything for all species in the fall and winter. I begin to taper off feeding after spring migration (for obvious
reasons) so that by summer I've switched to just my dripper bird bath and sugar water for hummingbirds. I do this because I've had Red-Bellied Woodpeckers and American Kestrels raid my Bluebird boxes, as well as all the noise and commotion attracting Hawks and Crows, that will take advantage of the birds at the feeders as well as nestlings, given the opportunity. The bird bath gives me plenty to watch, and I think attracts more species than any feeder.
If the weather makes it hard for the Bluebirds to find bugs,etc. I do feed the Bluebirds meal worms, especially if they have hatchlings. I try to transform my yard from a restaurant to a safe place to nest. Once nesting season is over, the restaurant re-opens just in time for fall migration and the parent birds bring their fledglings for a lesson in feeder etiquette.
Through it all, the Mockers continue to be Mockers, and that's ok with me.
They haven't kept any other species from feeding or nesting here, that I can tell. This is what works for me, after years of paying attention to what's going on in my own back yard. Laus Deo !
DRF


From: Wendell Long [mailto:mrsimple33"at"go-concepts.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 07, 2007 10:43 AM
Subject: Photo link

Friends,
     I have been off list for awhile. 
     My backyard has a new visitor(Mockingbird) and in the last few days he thinks he owns all the yard and has discouraged the bluebirds from hanging around.  Anyone know how to teach them to get along?  They were ok for a few days.  Thanks. Happy bluebird season to all.  Here is a link to my photos if you care to review. http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v283/MrSimple/Wendell%20Long%20Photos/

Wendell Long
Waynesville, OH.
From: Kathleen Arnold [mailto:koscharn"at"suddenlink.net]
Sent: Thursday, March 08, 2007 1:11 AM
Subject: RE:Mockingbirds

Occasionally a mockingbird will sit on top of a nestbox, but it stays only briefly.  Otherwise, my mockingbirds spend more time harassing each other than bothering any other birds.  Very possibly yours will learn to tolerate each other given a little time.

Kate Arnold, Paris, Texas


From: Wendell Long [mailto:mrsimple33"at"go-concepts.com]
Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2007 2:36 PM
Subject: Mocking

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v283/MrSimple/Wendell%20Long%20Photos/?action=view&current=DSC_01191.jpg

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