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A mockingbird is chasing all the birds away from my feeder. What can I do?

Mockingbirds form winter territories of about 1-2 acres which they defend from other mockingbirds and even other bird species. Their territory includes a source of berries such as a crabapple tree, multiflora rose bush, etc. because berries are what mockingbirds mostly eat in winter. If a bird feeder is in their territory they may chase the feeder birds out of their territory and not allow them to eat at the feeder.

One solution is to move the bird feeder until it is outside the mockingbird's territory. You may have to experiment with placement, moving the feeder to several different locations until you find a place where the mockingbird will not defend it.

If your entire property is included in the mockingbird's territory and there is no place that you can locate the feeder where the mockingbird will not defend it, then you should take a different strategy. Try putting up several feeders, 4 or 5, widely spaced around your property. The theory here is that the mockingbird cannot defend all of the feeders all at once. While it is chasing birds from one feeder, other birds can be using the other feeders.

In the spring, mockingbirds change their behavior and set up territories of 1-2 acres centered around their nest. In spring and summer the mockingbird defends this breeding territory from other mockingbirds and may display towards people, dogs, cats, snakes, large birds, and any other animal that may prey upon the nest. So listen for the mockingbird singing in the spring. It will be a sign that it is setting up its breeding territory and it will leave the bird feeders alone.

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