Territorial Mockingbirds In My Yard This Winter

Tuesday I wrote a blog post about “Dealing with Territorial Bluebirds in the Winter“. After posting that blog post, I saw a Northern Mockingbird chasing one of the Eastern Bluebirds in the sky through my yard on January 23, 2024. I’m not sure what was going on with these two birds but I bet it was over territory.

Northern Mockingbird In Winter Here In Arkansas
Northern Mockingbird In Winter Here In Arkansas (Larger Image)

I have the Northern Mockingbirds year-round but I had not seen them in awhile until yesterday.

Mockingbirds are fiercely territorial: Even in winter, when their territories shrink, Mockingbirds are known to aggressively defend their space from other birds, including those that don’t pose a threat to their food sources. As food resources become scarcer in winter, Mockingbirds become even more protective of their territories, making them more likely to chase away other birds, including Bluebirds. (Bluebirds and Mockingbirds share similar diets.)

A Northern Mockingbird With A Berry
A Northern Mockingbird With A Berry (Larger Image)

They switch up their diet: During the summer, Mockingbirds primarily eat insects. But in the winter, when insects are scarce, they switch to a diet of berries and fruits. Some of their favorite winter foods in Arkansas include sumac, holly berries, pokeberries, and dogwood berries.

Northern Mockingbird Fluffing Up
Northern Mockingbird Fluffing Up (Larger Image)

They’re tough survivors: Mockingbirds are well-adapted to cold weather. They have thick feathers that help them insulate themselves from the cold, and they can fluff up their feathers to trap even more air. They can also lower their body temperature at night to conserve energy.

They’re the state bird of Arkansas: The Northern Mockingbird was chosen as the state bird of Arkansas in 1929. It is a popular symbol of the state, and its song can be heard year-round in Arkansas.

Mockingbirds may be aggressive and territorial, but they are still incredible birds that brighten our winter days. Even when defending their turf, their aerobatic flying displays are impressive to watch. I’m always happy to see my winter mockingbirds here each year.

Their presents remind me that even in the darkest months of winter, spring’s return is not too far away. The cycles of nature continue, and warmer days full of singing birdsong will come again.

For now, I’ll enjoy the mockingbirds’ winter antics. Perhaps I can even put up some extra berries in my yard to reduce conflict with the bluebirds. A little resourcefulness and understanding of bird behavior can help us support our feathery friends all year round.

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