Gray Catbirds usually hide in dense bushes and trees, where their slate gray bodies and black caps become part of the shadows. This fellow here was an exception for a few seconds.
Male Catbirds do a lot of what they think is singing. They are intense, imaginative mimics, but we wouldn’t call them melodic. Males have been known to perform 10 straight minutes without repeating a phrase (unlike Northern Mockingbirds, which repeat).
A virtuoso Catbird has a repertoire of more than 100 sounds, including its rough versions of other birds’ songs, frog croaks, local machine noises, and what sounds to us like Rap Music.
One of the non-song sounds that Catbirds make is “Mew” and they often repeat it like a mantra – “Mew, Mew, Mew, Mew” – which is why they’re not called Dogbirds. (Brooklin, Maine)