Sunday, June 20, 2010
The Gray Catbird
Gray catbirds usually stay hidden in dense bushes, so we hear them more than we see them. They make a catlike mewing sound that gives them their common name. The one in the photo came out of hiding to scold my cat. They are creative singers, too; they imitate the songs of other birds, and sometimes the sounds of machines and people.
The catbird, Dumetella carolinensis, is about 9 inches long, and gray, with a dark cap on the head, and a black tail with a chestnut-colored patch underneath.
They are summer birds in New York City, where they nest in places as urban as my Brooklyn garden -- within sight of the Manhattan skyline.
There is more information about urban birds in my book, A Field Guide to Urban Wildlife of North America, which will be published by Stackpole Books in spring 2011.