Archived Story

Nancy Wiersma: Plain catbird carries colorful tunes

Published 2:40pm Monday, June 10, 2013

While sitting in my garden, taking a much-needed break, I heard a catbird singing its variety of tunes, up somewhere in one of my pines.

I just sat there listening to its varied repetitious repertoire. And now and then, it threw in its mewing catcall, too.

Most of the time, the bird is well concealed within the shadowy undergrowth of my spireas that line the border of my backyard.

I can just barely see it skulking, climbing in among all those tiny, twiggy, tangled branches.

Sometimes, if I’m really lucky, I can catch it off-guard, bathing in the birdbath. How it loves water.

This bird is dark gray in color with a black cap and piercing black eyes.

I’m sure in the summertime it gets its fill of all the insect goodies that can be found lurking in the shredded oak leaf mulch I painstakingly apply under the shrubs.

Insects such as beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, spiders, grubs and caterpillars, just to name a few.

But what I like best about this bird is its favorite insect is the Japanese beetle.

Their preferred foods are insects, fruits and berries.

They spend their winters in the far south and coastal southeast, warm places such as Florida, the Gulf states and Mexico.

Despite its drabness, tunes this bird can belt out surely make up for its lack of color. For we all know, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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