Visiting Gray Catbird – here 3 of the last 4 years

Gray Catbird, a species very familiar to North American birders

The Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) above was photographed by Larry Waddell in Minnesota in September of this year (2018). I fondly think that it could now be the same bird that has taken up residence this December in my garden in Costa Rica. Here it’s a fairly common migrant and even winter resident but this is only the third year that I’ve found it here in the village. Last (northern) winter it was absent, so I was very pleased to find one seeing off a pair of Social Flycatchers (Myiozetetes similis) that had too closely approached its territory.

Since the Gray Catbird usually hides away in thick underbrush, it is not seen very often. Quite the opposite with the Social Flycatcher, a very common tropical species that even the most casual observer in Costa Rica cannot fail to notice. Here’s a nice shot from John Beer’s files, taken in nearby Santa Rosa:

In past years the Gray Catbird has stayed in the garden as a winter resident from December right through until late April so I hope to continue to hear its mewing cat-like call well into 2019.

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