Friday, December 24, 2010

Why the Catbird Sings

There are some birds who are known mimics; mocking birds, if you will. The Gray Catbird is such a bird. Generally, it mews. Mewing is perhaps it's first or native call? I spent an entire morning in my yard trying to find the crying kitten...before I discovered I was hearing a Gray Catbird. Unless he is singing, the Catbird is difficult to find...preferring to skulk about in deep cover. When I finally saw one, I was amazed at how pretty they are; almost completely gray, with a dark cap and pretty red 'panties'. Well, that's how I think of them.

The following clip, from BirdChick (AKA Disapproving Rabbits) shows a young bird, still practicing his mewing.

Here is another bird, a Northern Mockingbird this time, which has his song a bit more polished:

But, why do they mimic? What prompts a Catbird or Mockingbird to imitate all these sounds? Some even learn car alarms, cell-phone rings, police sirens. Why do they do this? Cornell's Laboratory of Ornithology has the answer in this stunning clip which takes us through the songbird's even does frogs!

No comments: