Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Mockingbird Battle Continues ...
by Adele Barger Wilson, author of Bonding with the Barn Swallows, on sale for 25% off until midnight Sunday night, December 14, at Amazon!
You will need to use a promotional code.  See my December 12th post for details.
Photos and text © 2014 Adele Wilson

This must be the Year of the Mockingbird!  As you may have read in my previous posts, Mockingbirds have taken over the tree by the driveway and any suet feeders that have been hanging there.  Having decided that the tree is part of their territory, the Mockingbirds have been chasing any other types of birds away from that tree.  Here are the previous posts:

Adventures in Bird Feeding, Part 1:  Keeping Peace with the Mockingbirds
Update on the Mockingbirds - Are they still interfering? 

April 10, 2014 - Two feeders
There were originally two feeders hanging from the tree by the driveway, the tree that I now call the Mockingbird Tree.  The photo to the right was taken April 10, 2014, and shows the two feeders side by side.

A few weeks ago, with the Mockingbirds preventing the other birds from eating, I moved one of the feeders to a mimosa tree, about 50 to 60 feet away from the Mockingbird Tree.  For a while, it seemed to work.  Tufted Titmice, Cardinals, Chickadees, House Finches, and Downy Woodpeckers were all showing up at that feeder.

The mimosa tree
One day I saw a Mockingbird perching on the mimosa tree.  "Oh no," I thought, "Are the Mockingbirds going to take over that tree also?"  At the same time, a female Cardinal landed on the Mockingbird Tree and proceeded to eat from the feeder.  As soon as the Mockingbird on the mimosa sighted the female Cardinal feeding from its tree, it suddenly flew to that tree and chased the female Cardinal away.

So far I hadn't been seeing the numbers of birds in my backyard that were there last winter.  Was it because of the Mockingbirds chasing the other birds from both feeders?  Or, perhaps the roaming cats around here had found some meals.  Or, maybe some birds had become snatched up by the many hawks I've seen flying overhead.

Perhaps the quality of the suet cakes had been to blame.  Last year at this time, I had made "suet" cakes from scratch, and a great number of birds had been attracted to them.  So, I decided to make some cakes again to see if they would attract a greater number of birds.

Early in the morning of Tuesday, December 9th, with an inch of snow on the ground, I hung a new suet cage feeder on the mimosa tree, filled with one of my homemade cakes.  I had made the cake from a base of peanut butter, and added corn flour, ground sunflower seed, chopped peanuts, and raisins.

Cardinal and Titmouse
[In a future post, I will give the recipe that I used for the new "suet" mixture.  If you are interested in it, please follow this blog by entering your email address at the top of this page and to the right.]

Within a couple of minutes of hanging the homemade peanut butter cake on the morning of December 9th, a female Cardinal and a Tufted Titmouse showed up and shared the feeder that contained the new homemade cake.  All seemed well!

Chowing down!
But, by the next morning, things had changed.  The Mockingbird had discovered the new cake.  The photo to the right shows the Mockingbird on the feeder, where he spent the next few minutes chowing down on the cake!

This morning I stepped out on the porch and saw the Mockingbird fly from one tree to the other.  He even posed for me on the Mockingbird Tree, glaring at me, as if giving me a warning not to encroach on his territory.

Mockingbird warning me!

I am in a quandary as to what I can do about this, if anything.  The Mockingbirds seemed to have declared my back yard off limits for any other birds.  If any of you have suggestions, I would very much appreciate your commenting below.

 *     *     *     *     * birds are not dumb!  They are sentient beings who often communicate specific things to humans.  You can read about how I determined this to be a fact based on my intimate experiences with Barn Swallows as described in my book, Bonding with the Barn Swallows.

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