Gray Catbird 5/6/18

Once considered a thrush for its drooped wings, and known for its cat-like call, the Gray Catbird is one of New England’s 3 Mimid species (35 worldwide) which have a well developed syrinx to mimic the songs of other birds. Catbirds sing a medley of “strophes,” or phrases of other bird songs, in a long string but without repeating any. The Brown Thrasher repeats each strophe twice before moving on to the next, and the Northern Mockingbird, the most prodigious mimic of the 3, repeats strophes 4 to 6 times, making it possible to tell who is singing even when you can’t see, as they often sing from deep within a dense thicket. Mostly found east of the Rockies, a few Gray Catbirds overwinter in New England, but the majority migrate from the south in early spring.

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