Mockingbird Nest: Understanding Your Backyard Buddies Better

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Outdoor & NatureLearn more
The mockingbird nest is constructed by female northern mockingbirds.

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The beautiful northern mockingbird's song ringing in our ears is one of the best feelings.

Have you ever wondered where these northern mockingbirds build their nests? They seem to be within our range, but it is hard to find where.

The song of northern mockingbirds will be low during the breeding season. They will be busy building their nest and finding the young ones something to eat. What are the habitats where northern mockingbirds build their nest? In general, where do mockingbirds build their nest? Apart from the song, what is their behavior during this nesting time? There is a range of questions that you would like to know regarding the nesting season of mockingbirds. So, without further ado, let us dig into some facts about this songbird species and its nesting habits.

After reading about the nesting habits of a northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos), you must check out our fascinating articles about mockingbird call and mockingbird eggs.

Where do mockingbirds nest?

The nesting behavior of mockingbirds is fascinating. Mockingbirds usually nest in shrubs and trees. So, it is common to see a mocking bird in your backyard shrubs.

The nest of the northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) is seen as a bulky structure. The nests will be made of twigs with leaves. Mosses and other things on top of it. The nesting behavior of mockingbirds is different from most of the bird species as both the male and female work together to create the nest. Normally, in other bird species, only the females are in charge of nests. But in mockingbird nesting, both males and females have equal involvement. Interestingly, male birds contribute a bit more.

The nests that you see in trees and shrubs are the hard work of both male and female mockingbirds. The nests are at least 3-10 ft (1-3 m) above the ground. The nest that they have built once is rarely used again. Sometimes they will build a new nest over the old one. These birds rarely use the same nest for the next breeding period.

How long do mockingbirds stay with their parents?

Mockingbirds build their nests and lay their eggs in them. These birds will lay around three to five eggs in these nests. Just like other singing birds, mocking birds also have an incubation period of two weeks. What happens after the eggs are hatched?

Mockingbirds are altricial, which means that they won't have feathers when they are born and will also have closed eyes. These birds cannot feed themselves either. The young ones have to rely on their parents for everything for two weeks after hatching. The feeding is done by both parents during this period. These young mockingbirds will develop wings and will slowly learn to fly. The flight of the young ones is done under the supervision of the male mockingbird. There are chances that they will fall down to the ground during their attempt to fly.

To prevent such a fall, the males will look after the flight of the young ones until they are able to use the wings properly to fly around. After they are fully equipped to fly on their own, the young northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) will leave its parents to live on its own. The young have acquired the skills and resources to tackle the wildlife on their own. That is how the young of this bird will start an independent life.

Do mockingbirds use birdhouses?

The songs of the mockingbird might tempt us to want one for ourselves. It would be nice to have a nest near our house where we can hear the sweet song of these mockingbirds. But is it possible to do so? Do they nest if we create a birdhouse for them?

Mockingbirds thrive in the wildlife. They prefer the natural habitat over the man-made habitat. Also, when it comes to nesting, these birds have special preferences. So, the chance of these songbirds nesting in a birdhouse that you have built is slightly low. However, it is possible to create a birdhouse fit for them in a natural way. Much like their natural habitats, the nest should be hidden between shrubs and trees.

If you surround the nest with berries, insects, and other food that they love, these birds will nest in the birdhouse. The nest should be secure too. If mockingbirds that visit the birdhouse feel as though they will become prey to some other animals, they will abandon the birdhouse. In short, a natural birdhouse with some berries to eat might increase the chances of a mockingbird nesting in your backyard, which means more sweet songs for you to hear.

Northern mockingbirds have the fascinating ability to recite over 150 different types of songs.

Northern Mockingbird Nesting Habits

Males of the northern mockingbird species select the nesting location for breeding. Males build many nests, and female birds choose one among these to lay eggs. They start building nests early in March. Each nest can carry up to two to three eggs in it.

The incubation period of northern mockingbirds is around 12-13 days. Some male and female northern mockingbirds stay together during the winter, while some don’t. The male will try to pursue the female for mating. Once a bond between a male and a female northern mockingbird is formed, the song that the northern mockingbird sings is shortened. After these adult birds of this species form a bond, there are certain hew-hew calls that they will use to stay in contact with each other.

If on a particular territory, the male northern mockingbird fails to secure a female, then he will leave that territory. Once breeding starts, males and females become very protective of their territories. They can be aggressive too. The breeding period is through fall and winter for northern mockingbirds. After the breeding period, the adult has to look after the young once they are born, since the chicks hatched have no wings, are blind, and helpless with gray down.

Mockingbird Nesting Behavior In Residential Areas

Northern mockingbirds have the same nesting behavior wherever they are. The only exception is when they are in areas where they are threatened. In the case of residential areas, the interference of humans is greater, so there is a slight change in how they make their nests.

The northern mockingbird usually makes nests 3-10 ft (1-3 m) off the ground. But at extreme levels, they can make a nest 60 ft (18.2 m) above the ground. In residential areas, it is rare to spot the northern mockingbird nest at a low level. The only case where it happens is if the shrubs around the area are very thick, providing them with a great hiding place from humans.

In other cases, they build the nest at a great height. Northern mockingbirds are usually very visible in residential areas. But when it comes to their nests, the mockingbird prefers them to be very secure and hidden away from humans and their interaction. This might be part of the reason why they rarely use birdhouses made for them. This species is very territorial. If these birds spot any threat within the range of their nest, they can become aggressive too.

How can you help mockingbirds?

What can you do during the breeding season of a mockingbird? As we have already mentioned, they won't use birdhouses unless they prefer to. What other things can you do to help a northern mockingbird during its breeding season?

The first thing you should do is stay far away from the range of the nest. It may be very tempting to go and see the little chicks or feed them food, but you shouldn't, as northern mockingbirds find humans a threat. Unless they are very comfortable with you, keep a safe distance from their nests. Another thing that you can do is provide them with food within the area of the nest.

The adult mockingbird will definitely go in search of food, so it would be great if they could find food to eat near the nest. They feed on insects, but they also love berries and fruits, apart from insects. So, finding food to eat near their nest would be very helpful for these birds. Northern mockingbirds are best suited to living in their natural habitat. So, you must not interfere with them during their breeding season.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for mockingbird nest then why not take a look at mockingbird symbolism, or mockingbird facts.


Written By

Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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