In many stories, the mockingbird was used as a symbol of goodness and beauty. Rightfully so, a mockingbird has only one role to fill: to sing beautiful bird songs. Their kind does not eat your fruits, mess up the garden, and builds nest anywhere they want but instead find a place to nest and to hatch eggs as needed.
In many stories, mockingbirds are representations of pure innocence. For this, taking care of mockingbird is a delight for every birder. But because they are a bit different among the feathery friends out there, what to feed a baby mockingbird must be carefully thought of.
Once you decided to own one or adopt an orphaned mockingbird, you need to start thinking of how to properly take care of it, including how to handle its feeding and diet. Most of the time, the first instinct of people is to feed the feathery friend, by hand. However, there are more to taking care of the bird than feeding.
Before you start shoving food into the baby bird’s beak, know the stage of development and growth of the bird first. This will be important in deciding what to feed a baby mockingbird. Feeding the bird with wrong food will certainly cause more harm than good.
Once you know whether the bird is a chick, a nestling or a fledgling, work on planning the bird’s dietary requirement. If you can’t figure out the stage based on its looks, take the weight of the bird to know its age.
Birds like the Northern Mockingbirds only need 11 to 12 days in the nest before they are out and about. As early as 8 or 9 days, a baby mockingbird must not be disturbed in the nest because it might consider you as a predator.
Here are few tips to follow when you decide to take care of a baby mockingbird.
Tip #1: If you recently decided to keep a baby mockingbird, you can opt for alternative food to ensure the survival of the baby bird until it is strong enough to fly on its own. Some food can include a mixture of 40 percent kitten chow, 20 eggs and the other 20 percent can be wax or mealworms.
Worms and insects are important protein sources needed by birds in general. It builds muscles, which allows it to use its flaps when it is time to fledge.
Tip #2: In deciding what to feed a baby mockingbird, observe what you have in your surroundings. Mockingbirds live on common food available in your garden such as fruits, berries and some insects. For baby mockingbirds, you can help them digest better by making sure these foods are cut in digestible chunks.
Tip #3: Taking care of a mockingbird means constant feeding. Depending on its body weight, you need to provide 10-15 percent equivalent of food of its total weight. Feeding will also be regular or at least every 45 minutes.
Some types of baby birds are supposed to be fed every 10-20 minutes with protein-rich diet. Not all birds require water after feeding.
Tip #4: Birds have different ways of feeding. Some does not allow human touch. However, baby mockingbirds are more receptive to human presence. You can hand feed it, putting the food into her lower beak or you can use a 1-ml special syringe that can be bought from pet stores.
Tip #5: Water is crucial for baby mockingbirds, especially when they begin to walk. Like any other, water helps the baby mockingbird digest food easily. They even use a birdbath for all purposes: drinking and bathing. In the wild, they will use water from the ground to fill this need.
For some other types of birds, water is not advisable when they are still nestling of fledgling. Most birds take their water source from their food: fruits, raisins and even worms but not baby mockingbirds.
Tip #6: For birds about to fledge, offering bird seeds will be helpful even if the bird is still eating alternative or natural sources of food.
Tip #7: Some birds are ground feeders so what does a baby mockingbird eats depends on what the parent bird provides. However, once the baby mockingbird fledges or already out of the nest, you may allow the bird to forage in your yard feeder. Keep the fruits such as apple slices, raisins, and grapes into the feeder and let the baby mockingbird feast in them. You can also add cake or cottage cheese for the baby mockingbird to enjoy.
While preparing this feast on your feeder ground, make sure to keep the predators such as cats and dogs away. You may also observe the feeding from afar.
Tip #8: If you placed your mockingbird in an enclosure, make sure to leave food for the bird to feed on whenever it gets hungry. When the it is hungry, it opens its mouth wide and creates a sound. Check the food supply in the enclosure from time to time or every 40 minutes.
Tip #9: Let the fledgling eat on its own as much as possible. If at all possible, mix the baby mockingbird with an older one in the enclosure to allow the baby bird to imitate the eating habits. When this happens, cut down on hand feeding the cute birdie.
Teaching the baby mockingbird how to eat alone and what to do allows training it to survive when it finally gets released in the wild.
Tip #10: While the bird is not fully feathered, move the baby bird to an outdoor enclosure for it to get used to many things in its surroundings: sounds, sights and smell of nature. Mockingbird loves the wooded forest so duplicating the environment allows it to adjust easily, perhaps even developing a strong appetite.
Knowing what to feed a baby mockingbird will ensure that your bird is safe and is bound to survive. Once you noticed that it is ready to fledge or be released by showing signs of self-feeding and stronger flaps, then you can open the gate of the enclosure. During this time, keep the door open so it can come back anytime. The moment it stopped coming for food, it means the mockingbird has probably found its way in the forest. Someday, it might come back to let you listen to its beautiful singing.