The catbird sings….

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.

catbirdKnown 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.

catbird. Although there is no difference in appearance, the more cautious catbird may be the female who waits patiently as her mate boldly claims the bird feeder.

.catbirdKnowing 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.

6 thoughts on “The catbird sings….

  1. We noticed a handsome pair on our sunflower feeder just today and now look forward to hearing their melodic song. (Too cold to open windows in Wisconsin today!)

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  2. Perhaps my favorite bird. They seem to always be watching me and “meowing” or singing for me as I work or sit in our yard. Please plant some mahonia bushes, as I am certain those berries are their very favorite food. We think on our small property that we have three nesting broods, as we see the couples, though we have yet to find a single nest. Already our robins have fledged, as well as our red tails to the dismay of our other feathered friends; the bluebirds just began nesting, and we can see the towhees going to their nest, and we can watch and hear the cardinal chicks when their folks come to feed them. We usually have two Carolina wren nests, but some patio construction left one of our wren houses empty. What could be finer than bird watching? I still think my catbirds are my favorites.

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