Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What Is This Bird?


It has been such a beautiful day today and I've spent a good portion of the day outside. I did a little bit of work but didn't feel like a lot of physical labor today. I enjoyed some reading and relaxing and just enjoying the glorious day. Later this evening my son dug a few holes for me and I got the rest of the shrubs and the last two pink Knockout roses planted.

I was sitting on the patio this evening and spotted this, (new to me), bird. I've looked through the Indiana Bird Watching book and did an internet search and I can't ID it. My first thought when I spotted it and heard it was that it was a gray catbird, but after seeing the picture in the Indiana bird book, I didn't think it was. It also reminded me of a flycatcher the way it caught insects and because of the tail feathers, but I didn't see a flycatcher that resembled it. Now I'm confused. Help! Could one of you talented birdwatchers ID this bird for me, please?

The top of this maple tree is dead. It has been driving me nutty, but after sitting this evening and watching the birds land on the bare branches, I'm rethinking pruning it. They love those dead branches. Funny how my perspective changed on that. Here I was ready to buy a tree saw; I even thought about chopping the ugly, sorry tree down. After tonight, I realized it's not so bad after all.

17 comments:

Patricia said...

I'm pretty certain that it is a gray catbird. Looks just like the ones I see here in Florida, Robin.

cindee said...

I am sorry I do not know what it is but its a cool looking bird!!! A catbird sounds like a pretty funny name...I can just see it chasing cats...(-:

Debbie said...

Robin, my first thought was a Catbird, but if you do not think so, I wouldn't have a guess. It is sure is lovely. Can you watch it enough to hear if it is mimicing other birds...sort of like a Mockingbird that needs music lessons?

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Robin this is indeed a Gray Catbird. You can tell by its coloring and if you get a good look at it you can see that it has a black cap. You can sort of see it in your photo. If it starts jumping around in your garden you may glimpse its chestnut color on it undertail. The reason why they named it catbird is that one of its calls sounds like a mew. Maybe it will sound off for you.

Crafty Gardener said...

I said catbird as soon as I saw the photo and it looks like I'm agreeing with a lot of good company.
We have catbirds in the garden for the first time this year but so far I've been unable to get a photo of them. Great photo.

Kerri said...

How Fun this is...I thought Gray Catbird as soon as I saw the shot too!! I saw my first one this year....I'm sure they have been around, I just never noticed them...They are beautiful!

John said...

Your first instinct was correct... gray catbird.

NCmountainwoman said...

Great shot. Like you, I hesitate to trim bare limbs. They sometimes give us the best views when the rest of the tree is full of leaves.

Karen said...

I'd have to agree with everyone looks like a catbird ... great photo I haven't seen any myself this year.

Sherri said...

Robin, I vote Catbird. I love them!! The mimic other bird songs and they usually return to the same place every year. I knew a woman where I lived in NJ and she had 2 prs. of catbirds that came back year after year and they were a job!

ourfriendben said...

Yup, I vote for catbird, too.

Naturegirl said...

Robin I experienced this same thing last summer when we watched the birds land on a dead-ish birch tree..I say that because half was dead and 1/2was not. The birds just loved to land on the bare branches as you noticed on your tree. We did replace it this Spring and the birds still come. I miss that birch..hummm..I don't know that bird!

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Thanks everyone for the bird ID. The ones in the bird books I have looked smaller and were a lighter gray, and I wasn't sure if the one here had a black cap or if it was a shadow. So, that threw me.
I saw two of them this evening and it definitely is the catbird. It is so cool to hear them meow like a cat. I think they may be eating up the pill bugs too. I've seen several birds eating from the ground and flower beds. I sure hope they're eating the bugs.

Kathleen said...

I had to check your comments to see what kind of bird it was myself. I've never had a catbird in my yard either but I would love to!! He's very handsome. I have a half dead viburnum that I'm not pruning for the same reason you mentioned. Isn't it interesting how much use the dead limbs get??

George Africa said...

Hello Robin;

We enjoy birds and butterflies in our gardens and make it a point not to use chemicals for obvious reasons. The bird populations continue to change and we are always challenged to identify new birds. This spring there was a robin sized bird that had a habit of scratching the leaves with both feet. This was really obvious behavior underneath the forsythia where it eventually nested. A friend knows a number of birds and as soon as I described the scratching behavior he said "Towhee". A quick search through my books confirmed that.

We have moved our nursery to a new location on a river and the birds we see every day is amazing. I have yet to see a bald eagle fly the river but the other birds that navigate along the water is amazing. Thanks for posting the bird picture for us. We have catbirds too but they are seldom seen at the elevation we reside at.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
http://thevermontgardener.blogspot.com
Vermont Flower Farm
http://vermontflowerfarm.com

Mary said...

Birds love dead trees AND it give you more photo opportunities!

I don't see catbirds often. That's a nice pose :o)

Rurality said...

I need an army of them, if they eat pillbugs. We seem to be overrun with those this year!