Friday, May 28, 2010


THERE it was again - a mewing in the bushes at the back of the park. We investigated, expecting to come across a lost kitten or a nest of ferile felines. Instead, we found a rather drab bird, almost completely grey. And he was miaowing. There was no mistaking it - it had to be a Grey Catbird. A look in our bird book at home confirmed its appearance, call and habitat. What a surprise that it really does sound exactly like a cat! You can hear its call here. Even more surprising was hearing it again a few days later in our own back garden. And besides just miaowing, the catbird also has a beautiful song which it demonstrated to us quite proudly. Some fun facts:

  • Catbirds can recognise their own eggs and remove any laid by imposters

  • Besides their usual diet of berries and insects, they will eat odd things from feeders such as cheese, crackers and milk

  • The phrase 'sitting in the catbird seat' means being in an enviable, winning position. During breeding season, catbirds compete with others of their species by singing from higher and higher perches. The bird that reaches the highest perch wins the territory.


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