The Gray Catbird was the first bird I heard when I arrived at my parents’ house. I said, “Do you have a cat?” No, they didn’t have a cat. Hmm… is there such a thing as a catbird? I did an internet look-up, and sure enough, there is a Catbird species that summers in New York state. Ahh.. That might explain why it sounds like there’s a cat in the tree!
I didn’t get a good photo right away because it was raining for the first few days. Fortunately, I heard and saw catbirds every day, right near the house, and near the clearing by the driveway. I was surprised that I didn’t remember hearing them as a kid. There must have been at least a half dozen of them singing morning and evening. They make other songs besides the cat imitation and were relatively friendly. Finally on a sunny day I got these photos. Sure enough, the bird has a long tail, a rufous patch under the tail, and a small dark cap. It is a Gray Catbird! Apparently, they like Putnam County, NY just fine, at least in Late June/Early July, during an uncommonly cool summer.