Catbird, Gray

Grey catbirdLatin name: Dumetella carolinensis

Length, wingspan: 8.5″, 11″

What they eat: Insects, berries

Plants that attract: Dense shrub plantings, vines, trees

Where they nest: Shrubs, trees or vines

My observations: If you hear what sounds like a mewing cat in your garden — but there are no cats in your garden — chances are, it’s a catbird. This rather bashful bird is about the size of a robin, and has gray plumage along with what looks like a dark gray toupee. They usually hold their tail at an odd angle from their body; you’ll notice reddish-brown feathers (called “coverts”) underneath their tails. In addition to the mewing sounds, catbirds are masters at mimicking the calls of other birds. The older a catbird is, the larger its repertoire of songs is. The female lays anywhere from one to six beautiful turquoise eggs. Catbirds are only visitors to the garden during the summer months.

This is what their mewing call sounds like (you’ll notice it’s being elusive):

And here’s a catbird singing somebody else’s song!

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