Have you ever witnessed a mockingbird attacking something much larger than itself? A crow, perhaps, or a cat, or even a human? Perhaps it made you wonder about the reason behind such an attack. Why do mockingbirds chase crows? Why do they behave so aggressively? Is there anything you can do to keep them from attacking you? Keep reading! In this article, we’ll answer all of these questions.
What You'll Learn Today
Why Do Mockingbirds Attack Crows?
Mockingbirds are highly territorial and extremely protective of their nests. If they have reason to believe their young are in danger, they will not hesitate to attack the threat.
Mockingbirds seem to have an instinctive knowledge about what is and is not a threat. For example, they have been known to attack people that have previously disturbed their nest while ignoring those that they don’t perceive to be a danger.
This brings us to the question of crows. These large birds have a reputation for eating the babies of other, smaller birds.
Mockingbirds know this, and so they automatically consider crows to be enemies. Even if the crows aren’t actively attacking the mockingbirds’ nest, the parents will likely go on the offensive to make sure the crows don’t get any closer.
Check out a video of this phenomenon below:
Mockingbirds typically attack people, birds, or animals that get too close to their nest, but they may also attack for no apparent reason. Whenever they spot a crow, they consider the bird’s species enough of a reason to attack.
Why are Mockingbirds so Aggressive?
As noted above, mockingbirds are extremely territorial. They will attack anything or anyone that intrudes on their territory.
They are known to attack crows regularly, as mentioned; they also seem to target cats and other birds of prey with startling regularity.
Sometimes, they will even attack people who get too close or who attempt to tamper with their nest.
It isn’t that the birds are particularly mean-spirited; simply that they are overprotective.
They will even fight with each other if other mockingbirds intrude on their territory. In a mated pair, male birds will chase away other males, while females will fend off other females.
Alternatively, mockingbirds will sometimes team up to take on an intruder. If a nest or territory is in danger, the bird may send out a cry for help, and several other adult birds will quickly flock to the area to provide support.
There are some studies to suggest that not all mockingbirds are highly aggressive; their level of aggression may have to do with what’s in their environment.
One study, in particular, indicated that mockingbirds living in an environment with a lot of lead are more likely to show aggressive tendencies. Those living in a more natural, low-lead or lead-free environment tend to be less aggressive.
That said, at least mild aggressive tendencies seem to be natural to these birds. It is not uncommon for them to dive-bomb potential threats repeatedly until the threats retreat.
How to Keep Mockingbirds From Attacking
If you live in an area with mockingbirds, you are probably no stranger to their attacks. This may be especially true if the mockingbirds have claimed territory or built nests in your yard.
So the question is, what can you do about them? Is there any way to prevent them from attacking you, your kids, or your pets?
Let’s take a closer look at the best ways to deal with aggressive mockingbirds.
Leave Them Alone
Mockingbirds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which means that it’s illegal to kill, capture, or harm them in any way. It’s also illegal to tamper with their nests or their young.
Aside from this act, though, there are good reasons to leave the birds alone. As noted above, they seem to know who to target as threats and who to leave alone.
The more you do to try and get rid of them, the more they are likely to identify you as a threat. And once they have you marked as public enemy number one, they will most likely start attacking you repeatedly.
So, unless the mockingbirds have already shown a tendency to attack you, your family, or your animals, it’s probably best to just let them be.
Use Water Guns
If you know that you’re dealing with aggressive birds and you need a way to protect yourself, you can try using water guns.
Water guns won’t hurt the birds and will not violate the law against handling them. But they will discourage attacks.
Keep a water gun with you on your property. Anytime you see a mockingbird behaving aggressively, spray it with the water gun.
The stream of water will send it flying in another direction and may, over time, make it think twice before launching future attacks.
Keeping a flashlight with you when you’re outside at night will help you spot attacking mockingbirds more easily.
What’s more, having lights set up around your property will ensure that you see them should they attempt to launch any nighttime attacks. But best of all, having the lights set up may discourage attacks altogether.
Use Decoys and Deterrents
A good way to keep mockingbirds from attacking is to keep them off your property in the first place. There are a number of good ways to do this.
First, you can use owl decoys to trick the birds into thinking there is a predator in the territory. These decoys are fairly inexpensive and quite effective against mockingbirds.
You could also use sound deterrents such as ultrasonic machines and predator noise-makers. These devices will produce sounds that are unsavory to mockingbirds and will send them flying away.
Using these decoys and deterrents will help to keep mockingbirds off your property and will chase away any that are already there.
Mockingbirds attack crows and anything else they perceive as a threat, including cats, dogs, other birds, and even humans. They do this because they are extremely protective of their young and will do whatever it takes to protect their nest and territory.