I have a new favorite bird

I have a new favorite bird

Joined: September 6th, 2009, 11:45 pm

August 7th, 2018, 2:33 pm #1

I never really noticed them before, actually the first time I noticed one was at Palmyra nature reserve, but I have really been enjoying the catbird this year. Actually a few weeks ago there were two that were always together, but one day I noticed a dead catbird and I have only seen the one since. :(

What I like about them, at least this pair/now one, is that they seem friendly! When I am in my back garden they were always just about 15 feet away. Yesterday while I was refreshing the bird bath the catbird actually flew a few feet from me, and when I was done it hopped right into the bath. Looked at me while fluttering and meowing like a cat.

I am not sure if this it typical of all catbirds, but I like it!

Are catbirds territorial? Do they mate with the same bird for life? I wonder if I am seeing the same bird everyday, and if it misses its mate. I could have sworn I heard it crying for a few days after I noticed the dead one.

Ken
Central NJ
usda zone 6b
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Joined: May 21st, 2013, 12:09 am

August 7th, 2018, 3:44 pm #2

They seem politely territorial to me, not like dangerous robins as an example. The meow gives them their name. Maybe the mate was just old and died of natural causes? A bander from central Jersey had dead catbirds examined over many years and pesticides were found in many cases. When catbirds first return in the spring in my yard they can be spooky but as the season advances they become increasingly tame. I guess they realize I am no particular threat and being parents their need to go about their business wins out. You are almost certainly seeing the same bird. That should be changing now as breeding season comes to an end and they move around the landscape searching for berries. It is why I let some pokeweed grow at the gardens edges and don't get too offended by Virginia Creeper.
Southern New Jersey
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Joined: June 21st, 2017, 12:59 am

August 7th, 2018, 6:27 pm #3

Catbirds are really friendly in my garden and very tolerant of me.    I think they like that they are the only mid-sized bird that can squeeze through the cage around the Bluebird feeder and they have claimed it as their own except for an occasional small bird.   I haven't seen any Bluebirds for quite some time; they used to go to that feeder.   I put suet nuggets in the little blue cup within the Bluebird feeder and they devour them.   They also love the bird baths.   There are also wild grape vines in the tall trees bordering my property.  I imagine lots of birds go after the wild grapes.  I find lots of wild grape vines in my gardens and pull them out.
Carol Trego
New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, USA
Zone 6b
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Joined: May 21st, 2013, 12:09 am

August 7th, 2018, 7:01 pm #4

It would seem that many of the best wildlife plants, especially berry plants, have a well deserved bad reputation with homeowners - Virginia Creeper, Poison Ivy, Fox Grape, Pokeweed. I have spent my life removing them from my house and will die long before they give up.
Southern New Jersey
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Joined: September 16th, 2005, 3:18 am

August 7th, 2018, 7:54 pm #5

The first Catbird I ever saw was also a dead one Ken:-(  I think it was hit by a car:-(  However, that same day near that location I found a couple more while I was sitting trying to photograph other birds nearby.  Between the mewing and the strange mooing coming from the Blue Grouse that day, it was lots of fun.    You are lucky they come to your feeder, i have to travel 500 miles to see them.

I agree Ward, these dumb blackberry vines will never give up even after I am dead!  In fact, they will probably be the death of me!  I have been outside all summer doing my best to rid my yard of them, round 3 is almost over but it had gotten too hot to keep at it.  The older I get the more I am considering Round Up!
Ruth
Everett,WA
Zone 8
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Joined: June 21st, 2017, 12:59 am

August 7th, 2018, 10:21 pm #6

I never knew the name of Virginia Creeper until today when I looked it up after Ward posted about it.    I will never see the end of it in my garden because it grows through other ground covers.   I read on one website that like Poison Ivy you can get a rash from touching Virginia Creeper.  That is not true, at least for me.   I can pull it out with bare hands and not get a rash.    I use my weed wacker on it to get rid of the leaves, but that does no good to get rid of the vine itself.   After a certain point of the year the leaves stop growing on Virginia Creeper if I've wacked it off enough.   I let some poke or choke berry plants grow behind the fence for the birds.  And, of course there is a lot of poison ivy behind my property that gets berries. 
Carol Trego
New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, USA
Zone 6b
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Joined: September 6th, 2009, 11:45 pm

August 8th, 2018, 1:31 am #7

I have tons of Virginia creeper in my yard along one property line, bunch of poison ivy there too, but I get rid of that as much as possible.

I am not sure how the bird died, but a good part of it was missing, and there was poop right near it. Of course there is no way I can know if the poop came from whatever ate the bird.
Central NJ
usda zone 6b
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Joined: May 21st, 2013, 12:09 am

August 8th, 2018, 12:12 pm #8

There is rarely any way to know. Lets say there are 30 million Catbirds and they live an average of 3 years think about the number of deaths that means every year. It wouldn't surprise me if the average life span of a Catbird was something less than a year. Several broods a year with most young not making it to their first breeding season.
Southern New Jersey
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Joined: September 6th, 2009, 11:45 pm

August 8th, 2018, 8:43 pm #9

Life is rough for sure. Being that we buy our food from the supermarket the majority of humans don't deal with the need to be predators. We live in a very artificial world.
Central NJ
usda zone 6b
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Joined: May 21st, 2013, 12:09 am

August 9th, 2018, 12:49 pm #10

Predators. Standing on a balcony this morning in Bethany Beach Delaware watching a family group of Clapper Rails feeding at the edge of a reed bed. They seem like easy pickings for a Harrier. Six black babies charging around, well maybe more like teenagers, almost as large as their parents.
Southern New Jersey
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