are mockingbirds aggressive to other birds

Many of you will witness the Northern Mockingbird, our state bird, intensifying its territorial defense of its preferred breeding area. It is common to witness the usually ferocious Mockingbird intimidating hawks and cats, among other predators, who invade its domain. Perhaps you’ve experienced a Mockingbird swatting at you when you get too near to their nest.

It also implies that “Mockers” might pose a threat to the birds that use your feeders. If any of your feeding stations are close to a mockingbird’s predicted nesting area, one or both of the mating pair may fly in aggressively and cause all of the feeding birds to scatter repeatedly. This is usually a very frustrating experience for both the chasing birds and the person attempting to feed them. This habit typically lasts well into April, when Mockingbirds begin to nest. The “Mockers” are typically too busy feeding the young when the babies hatch and they are too busy to chase the feeder birds away. Though not as frequently as it did earlier in the breeding season, it will still occur.

The fact that I didn’t realize the mockingbirds were nesting again until their scratchy chat call exploded over my head as one buzzed me across the yard must be a sign of how distracted I’ve been lately.

Their noisy aggression is equally distinctive, however. According to Cornell, scientists disagree as to why the male’s distinctive white patch flashing on his wings occurs. Like his song repertoire, is it meant to frighten away insects, intimidate opponents, or aid in attracting a mate?

Northern Mockingbirds are fond of the native honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) in our yard, especially for their first nesting of the season. According to the Audubon Guide to North American Birds, mockingbirds raise upwards of two broods a year but don’t reuse their nests, opting instead for a new site in their territory. The trumpet honeysuckle provides a protective tangle of vines at their preferred nesting height, 3 to 10 feet off the ground. Native to North America, they have adapted especially well to suburban environments, which provide mowed lawns for foraging, tall telephone lines for surveilling their territory, and nearby shrubs for shelter. I don’t know whether these are the same birds that were here in past years, but Wikipedia notes that suburban mockingbirds often return to sites where they previously bred successfully.

Their frequent acts of hostility toward other animals can also have different functions. They use their chat call to attack nest predators and to elude territorial rivals. I was perplexed when I saw a particularly vicious and prolonged attack on a poor squirrel, but then I realized that mockingbirds also eat eggs and nestlings. I had also seen them dive-bomb cats. The reason the mockingbirds were so aggressive in chasing away some crows that were cascading their nesting site in our yard last week was because crows and other larger birds are also known to steal nests. It appears that Mockingbirds support the idea that a strong offense makes for the best defense.

Of course, the best-known trait of Mimus polyglottos is signaled by their name, which means “many-tongued mimic.” Although both sexes mimic, the male is especially prolific in adding new songs throughout his lifetime (up to 200 in all, according to Cornell Lab’s guide, All About Birds). In suburban settings, these can include not just the songs of other birds and animals (like cats), but also common sounds like car alarms and ringtones.


Do mockingbirds attack other birds?

Well, mockingbirds may not inflict too much physical damage to other birds, but they certainly are aggressive toward their feathered kin. The message in the bird world is this: Don’t mess with a mockingbird and, for goodness sake, don’t get anywhere near its nest.

What bird scares a mockingbird?

The owl and hawk are natural predators of mockingbirds and they know to stay away from them. A well placed owl or hawk decoy will keep mockingbirds far away from the area.

Do cardinals and mockingbirds get along?

Northern Mockingbirds have also been known to join forces with other birds, including cardinals, thrashers and doves, to chase away potential nest predators.

Do mocking birds eat other birds?

Diet. Mockingbirds typically subsist on a diet of insects. Some species, such as the hood mockingbird, are omnivorous and eat the eggs of other birds and may also feed on the kills of other predators.