The northern mockingbird Mimus polyglottos is a native species that is more abundant in urban than non-urban habitats (i.e. an urban-positive species). Abundance alone, however, is not an accurate index of habitat quality because urban habitats could represent ecological traps (attractive sink habitat) for urban-positive species. We compared mockingbird nesting productivity, apparent survival, and decision rules governing site fidelity in urban and rural habitats. If the higher abundance of mockingbirds in urban habitats is driven by higher quality urban habitat, then we predicted that productivity of urban mockingbirds would exceed the estimated source-sink threshold and productivity of non-urban mockingbirds. If, on the other hand, urban habitats act as ecological traps, productivity would be lower in urban habitats and would fall below the estimated source-sink threshold. Productivity of urban pairs exceeded that of non-urban pairs and more than offset estimated adult mortality, which makes urban habitat a likely source habitat. Apparent adult survival was higher in urban habitats than in non-urban habitats, although this could be driven by dispersal more than mortality. Decision rules also appeared to differ between urban and non-urban populations. Females in urban habitats with successful nests were more likely to return than those with unsuccessful nests, whereas return rates of females in nonurban habitats were unrelated to nesting success and may be more related to nesting habitat availability. We conclude that urban habitats do not act as ecological traps that lure mockingbirds into sink habitat and that increased breeding productivity contributes to their success in urban habitats.