What’s Up Pussy-Cat? Catbirds in the Garden


The catbirds have recently returned to our garden and I couldn’t be more pleased. If you can identify the song of any bird at all, it’s a catbird. Just listen for the meow! Last summer I was pleasantly surprised to learn they also have a ridiculously beautiful, melodic song. When they are near their own nest they sing so sweetly and softly; it floats down from the trees and just fills you with happiness. Yesterday, I was in the patio garden, planting out some seedlings, and this one catbird was sitting in the branches above me just singing and singing. It took me quite some time to finally get a picture of him because he kept hopping from branch to branch–they’re movers and shakers–but finally I think his curiosity got the best of him and he paused to give me a questioning eye.

Catbirds are related to mockingbirds and can mimic other birds sounds like they do, hence their long, melodic songs. A larger bird, with a long slender tail, they are a pretty charcoal grey with a darker grey/black cap, and a smidge of rust-orange beneath their tail. They are usually found in areas with shrubs and smaller trees, and of course fresh water. Secretive birds, you are more likely to hear and not see them.

Catbirds are ground foragers and eat a lot of insects in the summer. The females build the nests (sometimes with help from the males) mainly in shrubs and lay bright blue eggs. Along the southeast of the US, catbirds are in the decline due to habitat loss along coastal areas. Still, as far as conservation goes they are categorized under “least concern.” If you would like to learn more about these charming birds, click HERE.