I heard him early one morning last week before I saw him. The male gray catbird (Dumetella carolinensis), hidden in the tall white pines, sang a symphony of beautiful sounds. Related to the mockingbird, a bird that artfully mimics the sounds of other birds, the catbird’s vocal ability is even more melodic and varied, a gift that we enjoy from dawn to dusk.
Known to prefer thickets and shrubs, our pair announce their arrival with their familiar cat-like ‘mews,’ hopping through vegetation and arriving at our back yard where the sunflower seed feeder is their destination.
The birds are gray overall with a splash of bright rufous feathers beneath the tail. They sport a black cap atop their heads. They often fluff their feathers, droop their wings and cock their tails high from the railing of the deck.
Knowing that they are mainly insect eaters, the sunflower seeds may be temporary nourishment until insects are plentiful. But I do hope they are nesting nearby and will continue to visit and shower us with mews and territorial melodies.