Karen Perry from Wild Birds Unlimited

Today, I'm going to talk about gray catbirds.
My husband, Gaylord, and I were at our daughter's last Thursday to celebrate her birthday outside on her deck. As I have mentioned, we moved from our La crosse home last year where we lived in the bluffs so we had a wide assortment of species that would visit our various feeders and water.
While lunching on our daughter's deck, I heard a familiar sound. I said "that sounds like a gray catbird!" She was happy as she wasn't sure what that gray bird was in her yard. I mentioned to her that we had quite a few when we lived in La Crosse and they were fun birds to watch.  
Our daughter lives in Onalaska not far from Menard's, so not a wooded area, but plenty of large evergreens and thick bushes in the her yard and the surrounding yards.
So, be aware of the sounds around you and you may also have a gray catbird or two in your yard!
Here are some fun facts about gray catbirds:
* Gray catbirds love water and could visit moving water features in your yard. They can be attracted to feeders with mealworms and fruit, the enjoy grape jelly and our WBU Bark butter in a dish or the WBU bark butter bits in a dish. Catbirds, like bluebirds, robins and mockingbirds, enjoy raisins and currants that have been soaked in water to plump them up.
* Their call sounds like a cat mewing. Catbirds can produce over 100 different sorts of sounds.
* The long song of the gray catbird may last up to 10 minutes.
* They often heard or seen alone in thickets.
* Gray catbirds are often heard before they are seen. They are secretive birds that dart into the bushes when approached. They are also very inquisitive and can sometimes be called back out of the bushes to check out a pishing sound or a sound like kissing the back of your hand.
* Catbirds are gray with a dark cap on their head and a dark eye. Be sure to look for the rusty under-tail color that is not often seen.
* Their average life span is 4-10 years.
* Both sexes help build the nest, but construction is mainly by the female over five to six days. Breeding is May through August with an average clutch of four eggs. The female incubates the eggs and will continue to sit on the nest during hatching.
Happy Birding!
Karen Perry
Wild Birds Unlimited, Onalaska, 608-781-5088