Often heard but not seen

I’m always so happy to see a Gray Catbird! They’re frequently heard but not seen as their dark colors blend in with the shadows of their habitat.

“Rather plain but with lots of personality, the Gray Catbird often hides in the shrubbery, making an odd variety of musical and harsh sounds,” (Audubon.org). A dark gray bird with a black cap, the Catbird lives in dense woods and thickets and can be found throughout much of the US east of the Rockies, and into Central America (All About Birds). I personally think they are quite handsome and, lucky for us, they like Florida! This amazing (Gray Catbird) Abundance Map from ebird shows where they are when!

Their scratchy, cat-like mewing calls are a “mixture of sweet to melodious, thin to squeaky, and sometimes abrasive phrases mixed with pauses” (Smithsonian Handbooks, Birds of Florida, 2002). If you hear a Gray Catbird, you really aren’t quite sure it’s actually a bird!

The Catbird‘s sounds “include whistles, squeaks, gurgles, whines, and nasal tones. The notes often are imitations of other birds as well as of frogs and mechanical sounds.” Listen here to note the curious difference between their more melodious songs and their cat-like calls.

25 thoughts on “Often heard but not seen

  1. Great shots BJ ! Our catbirds are also human shy and easily hide being green and can be right next to you without you knowing. Our birds actually sound like cats howling, or baby crying, which caused a lot of concern for early English settlers, as they would go out at night looking for a woman or baby in distress.

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