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Wed Oct 31, 2012, 08:29 AM

Attracting Mockingbirds

Hi, I'm new here and happy to have found this group on DU, after four years! Anyway, I was having a discussion earlier this year on DU about Mockingbirds, rhapsodizing about how wonderful they are, their unique song, etc., when I realized in all the years I've been at my current location (18), I've never seen one in my yard or neighborhood -- and I miss them. I live in a small town out in the country with lots of vegetation and trees on my property (2 acres), including apple trees, raspberries, blackberries, some holly bushes, and other wild fruit bushes. I just planted 8 blueberry bushes this summer too.

Has anyone successfully attracted Mockingbirds to their yard or have any ideas how? I'm trying to buy more plants/bushes/tress etc., to attract them. Just bought a Serviceberry and plan to get a Pyracantha and some more Holly bushes. I read somewhere that putting mirrors in your yard might get their attention? When I drive into more populated areas 20-30 minutes away I will see Mockingbirds, but not out here. Maybe it is too rural where I am though.

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Arrow 27 replies Author Time Post
Reply Attracting Mockingbirds (Original post)
TuxedoKat Oct 2012 OP
Curmudgeoness Oct 2012 #1
TuxedoKat Oct 2012 #2
Curmudgeoness Oct 2012 #3
TuxedoKat Oct 2012 #4
fadedrose Mar 2013 #17
Curmudgeoness Mar 2013 #18
Nay Dec 2012 #5
TuxedoKat Dec 2012 #6
XemaSab Dec 2012 #7
Nay Dec 2012 #9
JDPriestly Mar 2013 #11
csziggy Dec 2012 #8
TuxedoKat Dec 2012 #10
locks Mar 2013 #12
Aerows Mar 2013 #14
Aerows Mar 2013 #13
TuxedoKat Mar 2013 #15
Aerows May 2013 #19
TuxedoKat May 2013 #21
fadedrose Mar 2013 #16
Aerows May 2013 #20
Paladin May 2013 #22
TuxedoKat May 2013 #23
Paladin May 2013 #24
TuxedoKat May 2013 #25
MuseRider May 2013 #26
Aerows Jun 2013 #27

Response to TuxedoKat (Original post)

Wed Oct 31, 2012, 06:02 PM

1. I have never tried to attract mockingbirds,

but it sounds like you are doing the right things. They are mostly insect eaters, and if they were around your yard already, I bet they would love a tray of mealworms. But that wouldn't bring them there in the first place.....and it could run into a lot of money if they did find it.

They also like suet, and from what I have noticed from watching them, they prefer to eat on a platform instead of from a feeder. Not sure, but maybe they don't like to perch on a feeder.

Personally, I have never been able to attract birds that I have not seen in my area. But I also know that changes in your landscape may help. I share your love of mockingbirds and wish that I could find them here in W PA like I did in Houston. I have seen one ever up here, and not near my house.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #1)

Wed Oct 31, 2012, 07:03 PM

2. Thanks

I've read some similar things about them preferring platform feeders, suet and mealworms. I'm going to put one up in a big open space in my yard where alot of birds flyover and maybe if one is out and about it will be attracted to it. I will probably put a birdbath out near there too, and maybe putting mirrors out too. I will let you know if I have any success.

I did put up a platform feeder and more suet feeders this year. The first day of the platform feeder I saw a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak. I've only ever seen one a few times before and never in my yard. Unfortunately I haven't seen that bird since then. Just this week I have started seeing a Red-Bellied Woodpecker at my suet feeders so that is pretty cool.

I forgot to add that I also read somewhere that Mockingbirds like dripping water or sprinklers. This summer when I saw some Mockingbirds they were bathing themselves in a sprinkler next to some bushes and would fly in and out of the water from/to the bushes. I did get a sprinkler and I will try that again next year too.

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Response to TuxedoKat (Reply #2)

Wed Oct 31, 2012, 07:32 PM

3. I have many birds that just stop by once a year.

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are one of those birds....actually two, I see a pair if I am lucky for one or two days in the spring, then they move on. I was most surprised one year when a flock of Cedar Waxwings spent a day here, even though they are presumably not seed eaters. Feeding and watching birds is my hobby. I have gotten to the point that all I feed now is shelled sunflower seeds, because all the birds in the area seem to love them.

Good luck with attracting those mockingbirds.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #3)

Wed Oct 31, 2012, 10:19 PM

4. Yes

Me too, some birds I just see in the spring, early summer and fall -- Cedar Waxwings, Baltimore Orioles, Indigo Buntings, Grosbeaks, Loons and other water fowl. I'm pretty far north though (upstate NY) and this was in June, I think that I saw that Grosbeak. It always makes me wonder how much farther north they feel they have to go!

Bird watching/feeding is one of my hobbies too. When I was a child I thought about being an Ornithologist. I mostly feed the shelled sunflower seeds too, but lately I notice the American goldfinches are going crazy for Niger Thistle, more so than in the summer.

Going to do some more research on those Mockingbirds. Maybe in 4-5 years the Cherry trees I planted will get their attention.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #1)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 03:11 PM

17. I was born in McKeesport

It was a wonderful town before the mills all closed. Also lived in Saltsburg/Indiana PA...moved there because McKeesport "closed" itself.

We had cardinals come to our feeder, and some birds I didn't recognize THEN.

Cedar waxwings show up here for 2 weeks, then they are gone for another year. They like serviceberry trees (which grow well in PA, I had one there), and they and the robins have learned to share the fruit here. It was rough going at first, but I think they know that they HAVE to share. Both have babies at that time.

What part of PA do you live?

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Response to fadedrose (Reply #17)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 06:05 PM

18. My father was raised in the McKeesport area.

You were not all that far from where I am.....well, a couple of hours, I guess. I am just east of Youngstown OH, which is the closest city around...I am right on the PA/OH border.

I have no room for trees, but would love to have a serviceberry for the birds. When my aunt passed away, they were putting in a memorial garden at a park, and I donated a tree----I requested a serviceberry. But I can't complain about having no room for more trees, since I have five mature oaks on a small city lot, and they provide millions of acorns! And lots of birds like them, as well as all the squirrels.

You make me laugh about knowing cardinals, and not all the other birds. I was raised with my mom knowing a lot of birds, so I learned them....and there is a bird book beside the window for those special birds we didn't know. Don't ask how long it took my mom and I (before she passed away) to figure out a female grosbeak when we didn't have a male.

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Response to TuxedoKat (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 10:45 PM

5. Our mockingbird pair eats two things: suet and an apple cut in half that I impale on a nail. They're

there every day, scooping up apple and nibbling on suet.

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Response to Nay (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 08:09 PM

6. Thanks

How do you offer the suet? On a platform feeder? I have suet feeders and I put some suet in a hanging platform feeder too. I will add some apples too. I plan to get a platform feeder to put in another area of the yard that is open to the sky to try and attract them.

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Response to TuxedoKat (Reply #6)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 08:19 PM

7. I have a couple suet baskets

I think they cost about 2 bucks a pop, and suet blocks are a dollar a pop at the Tractor Supply.

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Response to TuxedoKat (Reply #6)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 01:17 PM

9. I have 2 hanging suet baskets. nt

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Response to Nay (Reply #5)

Thu Mar 14, 2013, 03:39 AM

11. Is it possible that the wings on mockingbirds look blue during the early Spring?

I think that the birds in my yard (the larger ones) are mockingbirds. They sing beautifully on and on. I love them. In the early Spring they look sort of blue. Then they turn gray and black.

I'll try the apple to see if I can get a better look at them. I have a worm bin and have cultivated worms in my garden. Maybe that is why they like our house.

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Response to TuxedoKat (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 11:40 PM

8. Once you do get mockingbirds, they may chase off other birds

They are very territorial and don't like to share their area.

For many years we didn't have mockingbirds here at our farm. a few years back a pair moved into the big live oak in front of the house. One sits out there all day harassing any other bird that tries to hang out in the front. They even dive bomb the entire flock of mourning doves. They've chased off the wood thrush and hermit thrush that used to live in the low branches of the oak. I'd much rather have those shyer birds than the obnoxious mockingbirds!

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Response to csziggy (Reply #8)

Mon Dec 3, 2012, 10:34 PM

10. Sounds like

this is a be careful of what you wish for situation. I don't remember the ones we had in MD being overly territorial as we had two nesting in tree right next to our house and then some Cardinals had a nest in the same tree shortly after they did, and I always saw plenty of other birds around our yard too. The same species of bird can act differently in other areas though. Cardinals where I lived in the midwest and in MD were not shy. Up here, in NY state, they are less of them and they are more reclusive. I rarely see them at feeders or get to get very close to them.

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Response to TuxedoKat (Original post)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 11:58 AM

12. mocking is right

One time I visited some friends in Morgan Hill CA in the summer and was delighted to see mockingbirds and to hear their many songs. Until I went to bed, that is. Right on cue at 4:00 am they began their hundreds of disparate and copying melodies right outside my bedroom window and they never stopped! As much as I love birds I was glad to get back to CO where I could get some sleep.

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Response to locks (Reply #12)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 09:20 PM

14. They will attack, too

 

They have memories on par with crows, and will dive at you if you EVER in your life bothered to threaten their nest, even on accident.

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Response to TuxedoKat (Original post)

Wed Mar 20, 2013, 09:18 PM

13. I live in Mississippi

 

You can call to them, and eventually, they will mimic you. They are interesting, but territorial birds. They harass the heck out of my cat (with good reason).

Neat, neat birds with a vocabulary to stun most. I love them, even with their ill-tempered ways

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Response to Aerows (Reply #13)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 08:17 AM

15. I know

they can sometimes be annoying, I've been dive-bombed by them, but that didn't bother me. I miss hearing their beautiful songs and wouldn't mind if they woke me at 300AM. I'm hoping eventually some will settle in our area.

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Response to TuxedoKat (Reply #15)

Wed May 8, 2013, 08:22 PM

19. They have lovely songs

 

but do not get mixed up with them in anyway during breeding season. They would dive bomb anything, remember the specific one they divebomded, and go back to chirping. They are incredibly smart birds. There have been a lot of studies about their ability of facial recognition.

It doesn't matter what you wear, they will recognize you if you harass their nest, but let a person dressed like you pass right by.

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Response to Aerows (Reply #19)

Fri May 10, 2013, 07:40 AM

21. I wonder if that is true of many birds

as I've heard crows can recognize you after just one time.

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Response to TuxedoKat (Original post)

Thu Mar 21, 2013, 12:19 PM

16. When I lived in Arlington

Last edited Thu Mar 21, 2013, 03:04 PM - Edit history (1)

100 years ago, I saw my first mockingbirds. Never saw them in home state of PA or here in Michigan.

You will get a good sighting on the web for sure, also find out what they like to eat.

The site I went to recommended suet, because any bird that likes insects likes suet. You will also attract woodpeckers.

I make suet, and there are tons of recipes on the web. Mockingbirds don't like seeds that much, so your suet can be plain...

In warm places, the suet will melt, so you add flour to keep it from melting. I use masa harina (cooked corn flour) and the suet I melt down is made up of vegetable oil and meat products - mixed. The only place that has this 3-lb can here is Krogers. Any store has suet - it melts down and you can form it in many creative ways, or use empties from purchased suet (which is what I do).

Melt the fat, add flour, let it cool and when it's comfortable to work with, form it.
You can add whatever foods they like to the suet.

Good luck with getting the mockingbirds. I miss seeing them keep cats captive under automobiles in the parking lot of the apartment building we lived in. They are not afraid of cats, and the cats were sure afraid of them.

http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Secrets-of-Attracting-Mockingbirds-Using-Bird-Feeder-Plans&id=5972124

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Response to fadedrose (Reply #16)

Wed May 8, 2013, 08:30 PM

20. They reign here in MS

 

They can be equally foul-tempered during breeding season, and docile otherwise. But they are never quiet. If you see one in the trees, and have enough time, you can whistle and they will eventually mimic you. It's kind of interesting.

Harass their nest? Public enemy. You can change your clothes, your hat and everything, they will recognize your face if you mess with their nest. You will be subject to much (hours upon hours) of harsh cawing from them. There have been studies about facial recognition among mockingbirds.

My cat irritated them once, a few years ago, and I have to keep her inside if I don't want them to scream and attempt to nip her during breeding season. They haven't forgotten her LOL.

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Response to TuxedoKat (Original post)

Thu May 16, 2013, 10:15 AM

22. Here in central Texas, they hop around our yard, looking for bugs.


They don't come to the seeds in our bird feeder. The area bird guide says they are attracted by insects and fruit.

We love seeing and listening to them; people in Texas think enough of the mocking bird to have designated it as the state bird.

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Response to Paladin (Reply #22)

Thu May 16, 2013, 09:28 PM

23. I read somewhere

that they prefer platform feeders and only put in the things they will eat -- fruit, suet and insects (mealworms) so that is exactly what I have in one platform feeder. I also put up a birdbath with a solar sprayer, and bought a mister to turn on and off in the yard too. No Mockingbirds still but the fruit has attracted a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak to my yard, I've seen him at my platform feeders twice and today he went into one of my bluebird houses so I was pretty excited about that as they are such pretty birds too and relatively shy -- I've only seen them a handful of times in my lifetime.

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Response to TuxedoKat (Reply #23)

Fri May 17, 2013, 06:32 AM

24. Sounds like you're going to great lengths.....

...to bring in those mockingbirds. They must be a pretty picky bunch.....

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Response to Paladin (Reply #24)

Fri May 17, 2013, 07:26 AM

25. Yeah

I guess you could say I'm becoming obsessed. Mockingbirds are so common in places I lived before (MD and MO) it's frustrating that I've never seen them in my yard. I have seen them 15-20 miles away in other areas more suburban and some more rural like mine. Last year I saw two at my dentists' office in the city hopping around in a sprinkler near some bushes so I ran right out and bought a sprinkler. Over the past two years I've planted seven different types of fruit trees and ten blueberry and other fruit bushes. I have a raspberry patch and started a blackberry patch too. Not all the fruit trees and bushes were initially bought to attract Mockingbirds but those should be bird attractants too in a few more years. Oh -- I also subscribed to Birds and Blooms' Magazine...

On the plus side all these efforts are attracting other desirable birds, like the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak and Cardinals. I keep hoping I'll see Bluebirds too, as a person I know that has them lives about a mile away. With birds you just have to be patient for them to find you. Last year I bought a giant fancy suet feeder for Pileated Woodpeckers because my neighbor gets them to come to his
suet feeder. I put a small one on top of the big one for smaller woodpeckers too though. Finally after a year I saw a Pileated Woodpecker at my suet feeder, but he was eating from the small one, not the large one I put up for his comfort and benefit!

I keep hoping, "if you build it, they will come."

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Response to TuxedoKat (Reply #25)

Fri May 17, 2013, 09:42 AM

26. Good luck.

I am over the boarder from where you used to live. I am in Kansas and they are all over the place here. I have never seen one at my feeders. Maybe here they just have all they need? Everything else is at my feeder at one time or another.

Just a wonderful little mockingbird story for you. I have horses. My lead mare had a very easy, two syllable call name. One summer I had a mockingbird who hung around the barn and would call her in. She would run in and look around and then go back out kind of confused. Of course everyone else would follow her in or respond to the call. It was pretty funny until she started ignoring me. LOL.

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Response to TuxedoKat (Original post)

Mon Jun 3, 2013, 02:29 PM

27. I have a set that is roosting in my cherry tree.

 

They are so obnoxious and defensive about their nest, you couldn't believe it. They are extremely intelligent birds, but have attitude off the charts.

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