Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Thrashers, Mockingbirds, and Catbirds belong to a family of birds called Mimidae, which means mimics. Mockingbirds easily adapt to the suburbs and are not too hard to find over many types of habitat. Catbirds, on the other hand prefer dense, second growth vegetation. We have occasionally seen one in our yard, but it never stayed long. This spring, however, two young-of-the-year seem to have made our property part of their territory.
There is a good reason they are called Catbirds as their most common song sounds pretty much like a cat mewing. They are not as vocal as their cousins the Mockingbirds, but I did hear one the other day singing it's way through a repertoire of tunes.
All of these photos were taken at the river and I believe all are of the same bird although they were taken over a period of days if not weeks. It also was a young bird and, like all the other ones I have seen, do not seem to be intimidated by people. In fact, if anything, this one was quite curious and would stay very close by.
What they lack in coloring, they make up for in personality. They are uniformly dark gray on top and lighter gray beneath, except for the top of their head which is almost black.
Berries make up as much as fifty percent of the Catbird diet and may have been why this one was always in the area since there was a mulberry tree right next to this spot.
It would also pick around in the gravel along the shore, presumably looking for insects and small crustaceans stranded by the tide. I would almost believe you could train it to come to you if you had the patience to try.