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Birdfeeder Bullies


I have a bird feeder in the backyard and I have noticed a mocking bird totally taking over. It harasses all other birds, especially cardinals. The finches have stopped coming too. This is being going on for last 4-5 days. Help needed.


Hardiness Zone: 7b

Asad from Jonesboro, AR



I had this same "bullies at the birdfeer" problem last year with European starlings. I stopped feeding everyone and eventually the starlings moved on. Then I slowly resumed feeding, but only Niger and safflower seeds, two seeds bully birds generally don't find desirable, but only finches, chickadees, nuthatches, cardinals, and grosbeaks do. Slowly I added other seeds back in to lure in more types of birds. Everyone came back but the starlings (knocking on wood and crossing fingers).

Mockingbirds are notoriously territorial-especially during breeding season. One strategy might be to erect a second feeder in a different part of the yard that is out of sight of your first feeder. Most mockers will be so focused on defending the first feeder and won't even notice the second.


Another strategy is to erect some type of crate-like cage from wire or lattice to cover your current feeder. The holes need to be smaller than 2 inches to keep mocking birds (and starlings) out. If you use wire, make sure it's rigid and a wide enough gauge to prevent little feet from getting caught. The cage will allow smaller birds to get in, while keeping bullies out. Don't worry, I assure you the little guys will figure it out and resume feeding.

Some backyard birders have also found success by shortening or eliminating the perches on their tube feeders. Personally, I have not tried this, but the theory is that the smaller birds will still zoom by to grab seed, but instead of hanging out on a perch, they will take it out of harms way to eat it.


You can find more ideas for controlling bully birds at the National Wildlife Federation, here: http://www.nwf.org/nationalwildlife/article.cfm?issueID=76&articleID=1101

Good luck!


About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services.

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January 23, 20080 found this helpful

I have been birdwatching/feeding for almost 30 years and have had this problem many times. Mockingbirds, even the babies, love to do this. To make it even more annoying, they don't even eat anything you put in a feeder(they are worm and bug eaters). Unfortunately, there is nothing that will scare them off that won't scare everything else away also. Mockingbirds are extrememly territorial, your feeder may be in its territory. I've found that, sometimes, moving the feeder works. They mostly act like this when they have babies. The babies will be grown in a few weeks then they will probably leave the area.Good luck and happy birdwatching!

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 24, 20080 found this helpful

But is the mockingbird having babies in January?

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January 24, 20080 found this helpful

We had one mockingbird that decided to come to our yard and sit in one of our trees (no nest mind you), and it would swoop down at us whenever we went out to get our mail. It literally would swoop down and peck our cat when he was in the yard, the poor thing would run and was almost afraid to go out. And it would do the same thing to our dog (half german shepherd and half husky), to the point of actually landing on its back and pecking his head. Neither us nor the animals ever bothered or attempted to get the bird; it was just plain mean. Finally, it found someplace else to go after harassing us unmercifully all year.

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By guest (Guest Post)
March 5, 20080 found this helpful

What do I do to find what each bird below eats?
Towhees, mockingbird, cardinals, finches, sparrows, chickadees, flickers, woodpeckers and doves.

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