What Foods Do Northern Mockingbirds Eat?

Do Northern mockingbirds visit bird feeders? Find out what foods mockingbirds eat and how to attract them to your backyard.

what do mockingbirds eatCourtesy Amy Gordon
Northern mockingbird taking a blueberry from a fruit bird feeder

Northern mockingbirds may not be the flashiest birds in your backyard, but they’re some of the most talkative. Learn more about what mockingbirds eat and how you can attract them to your backyard, if they aren’t there already!

What Do Mockingbirds Eat?

mockingbirdCourtesy Rick Cafiero
Plant berry bushes like American beautyberry to attract mockingbirds.

Northern mockingbirds are big berry fans. Attract them with ornamental berry bushes like elderberry, blackberry, juniper  and pokeweed. As omnivores, northern mockingbirds eat insects such as grasshoppers, caterpillars and beetles in summer, and rely on berries in winter. Although it’s uncommon for northern mockingbirds to stop by seed feeders, you may entice them to your yard with a suet feeder or with sliced fruit like oranges and apples.

Do Mockingbirds Visit Bird Feeders?

what do mockingbirds eatJohann Schumacher Design
Mockingbird perching on a suet feeder

“Is it normal for a northern mockingbird to regularly visit suet feeders?” asks Birds & Blooms reader Thomas Faust of Brooklyn, New York. Birding experts Kenn and Kimberly say, “Northern mockingbirds are not typically feeder birds. Their usual diet is insects as well as small fruits, so standard feeder items such as seeds and suet won’t attract them most of the time. But they are flexible and adaptable in their behavior. After watching birds stop by for suet, a mockingbird may investigate and discover that it’s a good food source. From then on, that individual may become a regular customer, even as other mockingbirds may ignore the feeder.”

Backyard Tips for Attracting Northern Mockingbirds

what do mockingbirds eatCourtesy Doreen Damm
This mockingbird enjoys eating chopped peanuts.

“To attract mockingbirds, I purchase unsalted roasted peanuts and chop them very fine in my food processor. As soon as a mockingbird sees the peanuts on the feeding logs, it swoops in. This particular mockingbird (above) didn’t even mind me sitting a few feet away, taking photos,” says Doreen Damn of New Port Richey, Florida

Couclc19 Kathy Diamontopoulos 7Courtesy Kathy Diamontopoulos / Country magazine
Mockingbird in a winterberry bush

“We don’t have to work too hard to get mockingbirds in our yard. They are everywhere! They’ve never taken to our feeders, but they do like our berry bushes: blueberry, dogwood, raspberry, pyracantha, etc. Whatever berries are in season, the mockingbirds are first in line at the buffet!” says Arlene Tencza of Waxhaw, North Carolina

Next, learn how to identify and attract a gray catbird.

Lori Vanover
Lori has 20 years of experience writing and editing home, garden, birding and lifestyle content for several publishers. As Birds & Blooms senior digital editor, she leads a team of writers and editors sharing birding tips and expert gardening advice. Since joining Trusted Media Brands 13 years ago, she has held roles in digital and print, editing magazines and books, curating special interest publications, managing social media accounts, creating digital content and newsletters, and working with the Field Editors—Birds & Blooms network of more than 50 backyard birders. Passionate about animals and nature, Lori has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Environmental Communications from the University of Illinois. In 2023, she became certified as a Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener, and she is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and sits on the organization's Publications Advisory Committee. She frequently checks on her bird feeders while working from home and tests new varieties of perennials, herbs and vegetable plants in her ever-growing backyard gardens.