The Gray Catbird is named
for the occasional cat-like mewing that the bird makes. Gray Catbirds have
a remarkably varied vocabulary, rarely repeating the same phrase as it sings a
mix of melodic and grating noises. They will attend feeders for a wide
variety of items, some of which are rarely consumed by other birds attending
dense, low growth, mostly commonly along woodland edges and riparian
areas. Generally avoids unbroken forest.
Diet: Primarily insects and
berries. Will also occasionally feed on other fruit, and a very wide
variety of items at feeders.
Behavior: Feeds on berries and fruit in bushes and
trees. When foraging for insects, many are caught on the ground, but
they will also catch insects in the foliage of vegetation. They are
often found moving through dense underbrush, but will also sometimes forage
out in the open.
Nesting: June and July. The nest of a Gray
Catbid is a large cup of twigs, grasses, leaves, weed stems, and other material,
placed relatively close to the ground (3 to 10 feet) in a dense shrub or small
dense tree. The female usually lays 3 or 4 eggs, and she alone incubates
them. When the eggs hatch, both parents help to feed the young, who leave
the nest after about 12 days.
Migration: Summers throughout the eastern three-fourths of the
United States. Winters in the Southeastern United States and points south.
Conservation Status: Declining in some parts of the country,
but overall populations are stable, and they are found over a wide geographic
region. The IUCN
lists the Gray Catbird as a species of "Least Concern".
Feeders: Nuts, fruit, bread and other baked products, boiled potato,
cheese, cornflakes...you get the idea. Will eat a very wide array of items
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Gray Catbird"
Photo Information: May 27th, 2008 - Big Sioux
Recreation Area near Brandon, South Dakota - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Gray Catbird photos.