While working in the backyard this afternoon, I heard Gray Catbirds singing in the sumacs that are at the edge of the cove. I grabbed my camera and slowly worked my way down to where the choir was performing.
Taking cover behind a highbush blueberry, I captured several photos and video of this beautiful bird. The Gray Catbird’s most common call is a cat-like “meow”. It is a mimic, which means it copies the songs and calls of other birds.
The complicated syrinx (song box) of the Gray Catbird allows them to sing two notes simultaneously. The unusual structure of the syrinx allows them to make mewing sounds like that of a cat but also allows them to imitate other birds, tree frogs, and even mechanical sounds that they hear.
The male and female Catbird in this particular patch are keeping other Catbirds away. This leads me to believe that they will once again nest in the dense brush under the sumacs. Last year, our yard hosted two breeding pair who successfully raised young and brought them to our feeders.
Enjoy the following video of the Gray Catbird singing to its heart’s content.
Dimension: 560×480 | Video bit rate: 1000Kbps | length: 34 seconds
Playback: Click Play Button | Broadband Connection Recommended
Video: Gray Catbird Singing | ©2011 John Briggs Photography