NATURE KNOWLEDGE: Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird

This is a Gray Catbird. It has a harsh voice tone like the crying of a cat.

It is said that they are very shy but I accidentally discovered their weakness. They just love oranges! ( Notice the orange reflection on their chests in my photos? That is the orange treat that is out of the frame. It is not their natural color which is all gray.)

These photos are from my archives. My magical fence no longer is producing lovely captures since my neighbors cut down a tree beside it.

A few years ago, I placed oranges out to draw Baltimore Orioles. Well, I was successful in two ways. I did get orioles but I also found catbirds.

I developed quite an affection for these rather plain birds. They were very comical and pushy. I like a bird who knows what she wants.

I grabbed a few facts from the Cornell Ornithology Lab:

Cool Facts

  • The Gray Catbird’s long song may last for up to 10 minutes.
  • The male Gray Catbird uses his loud song to proclaim his territory. He uses a softer version of the song when near the nest or when a bird intrudes on his territory. The female may sing the quiet song back to the male.
  • The Gray Catbird belongs to the genus Dumetella, which means “small thicket.” And that’s exactly where you should go look for this little skulker.
  • The oldest known Gray Catbird lived to be 17 years 11 months old.
The Catbird is a relative of Mockingbirds and quite the vocal copycat too. They are about the same size as American Robins. They have a lovely flash of copper color beneath their tails. It is often hard to spot.
Upon reading about their behavior, I did see that they enjoy berries and fruit when they can get it but primarily eat insects. What a find my oranges topped with grape jelly must have been!
So next time you think a cat is in trouble in the thicket…it probably is a Gray Catbird pushing its weight around.

15 thoughts on “NATURE KNOWLEDGE: Gray Catbird

  1. Joan Marion 06/04/2012 / 1:34 pm

    In the last photo I can see a hint of the copper color beneath her tail. Love your portrayal of the catbird.

    • Susan 06/04/2012 / 1:38 pm

      Thank-you. I really think they are quite comical.
      Glad you were able to spot it in my photo. 🙂

  2. Teresa Cleveland Wendel 06/04/2012 / 1:47 pm

    “I like a bird who knows what she wants.”
    Great observation, Susan.

    • Susan 06/04/2012 / 2:09 pm

      LOL…I was thinking of you when I wrote that! Too funny 😉

  3. P.S. I Love Soap Co. 06/04/2012 / 2:10 pm

    I love Gray Catbirds….This is the first year I can remember the Gray Catbirds building a nest in one of our bushes close to our house….They sing at dust and early in the morning like crazy! They are soooo cute! i love to watch them in the bird bath:)

    • Susan 06/04/2012 / 2:20 pm

      I’d love to find them nesting! You are lucky…I must get busy remaking my magical fence! Thanks for commenting and following. ❤

    • Susan 06/04/2012 / 6:06 pm

      Thanks…really appreciate your visit and kind comment!

  4. Judy 06/04/2012 / 8:25 pm

    I’ll have to see what their range is! I love your photos and your stories, Susan!

    • Susan 06/05/2012 / 5:20 am

      Thank-you Judy. You made me smile 🙂

  5. nonoymanga 06/04/2012 / 8:25 pm

    Very nice time lapse wild life shots!!! Cheers Nonoy Manga

    • Susan 06/05/2012 / 5:22 am

      They were still shots over a few days, my friend. Much appreciated.~Susan

  6. Deb Platt 06/06/2012 / 8:12 am

    I loved your photos and the information that you provided. I’m wishing that the fence was still magic, but I guess it’s a blessing to have ever had a magic one.

    I have very warm memories of a catbird from our trip to West Virginia. We were staying in a lodge overlooking a gorge. In a tree just outside our balcony, a male catbird sang his little heart out every morning. We used to bring our breakfast out onto the balcony to listen to him while watching the smoky looking fog rise up from the forest along the gorge.

    • Susan 06/06/2012 / 8:19 am

      Thank-you kindly for the sharing of such a special connection with catbirds. My magic fence just may rise again… 😉

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