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Mocker at the Feeder

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Jan 14, 2009 | by Adrian Binns

For most of us Northern Mockingbirds are a species that we associate with suburbia as well as rural hedgerows. Mockingbirds have two territories. One they fiercely defend during the springtime around their nest site and another in fall and winter around favorite fruiting shrubs. We even encounter them in the backyard especially if it is part of their territory. They will even chase away other birds to keep them from interfering with the mockingbird’s natural food source. But how many actually come and use your feeders?

In my many years of backyard bird feeding I have never seen mockingbirds actually taking food from the feeders. Occasionally they will use the top of a feeder pole as a vantage point. But gorging themselves on seed? In the last month I have seen two different individuals helping themselves to various offerings – peanuts, sunflower and suet. While suet and even fruit, that one may put out for the birds, will be used by them, this behavior of taking seed is new to me. I found it interesting that while they are on the feeders they are aggressive towards other birds and want to keep them away, yet while in the backyard and on a winterberry bush 30 feet away they are quite happy letting other birds take their turn to feed at the feeders.

photo © adrian binns

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