Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Catbird- Natural Fledgling Finder

Photograph by Eleanor Tauber
Eleanor Tauber, sent in this lovely photo of a Central Park Catbird, Dumatella carolinensis, taken early on Sunday morning.
And why is it called a Catbird? Well, it has a distinctive note that is very much like a cat mewing. The old Peterson's I found here in Wisconsin then goes on to say "Song, a disjointed succession of notes and phrases, some musical. Notes not repeated as in songs of Thrasher and Mockingbird."
And then there is their scold--a raucous shrill staccato noise accompanied by much hopping and darting we've discovered as they alert the world to the presence of young hawks.
While in most of Central Park the main hawk alert species are Blue Jays and at times Crows, up in the north end of Central Park and in Morningside Park it is the Catbirds who start the alert, often then joined by the Robins.
These guys are downright spunky.
Tangentially, this reminds me that I've never known why "sitting in the catbird seat" is such a good thing. Perhaps because they tend to look rather pleased with themselves? This might just be the time to try and find out.
(Thanks to a reader, it's already done. Check out the comments section. Many thanks for the research.)
And yes, I'm still not done with Friday's visit to the Divine Hawks, I'm still trying to figure out exactly what was going on during one sequence of behavior...but it will be up soon whether I figure it out or not.
Donegal Browne

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

catbird seat: