From May to September, you will undoubtedly hear a cat-like sound in Crow Island Woods that is not coming from cat.  It is coming from a Gray Catbird. The mewing noise is often very faint but it is quite unmistakable once you begin listening for it. Gray Catbirds are related to mockingbirds. As such, they can mimic other birds, frogs and even mechanical equipment. So you may hear just the mewing repeated or hear it interspersed with other sounds.

These are relatively shy birds that like to hide among thickets and vines. Look for a gray bird with a black cap flicking its long tail. Look carefully and you may see their rust colored bottom, technically called under tail coverts. They like to eat all sorts of insects and fruit when it’s available. In the Woods, you can look for them in the riverbank grape vines, poison ivy, and black raspberry bushes.

Use the following link to hear a Gray Catbird making its famous mewing noise.

Use the following link to watch a video created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This particular Catbird is quite remarkable, mimicking a large number of very different kinds of birds and one frog.

Gray Catbirds – Shy Mimics

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