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Serving greater Daytona Beach area
Founded 1923



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November 9, 2014:  Arrival of the Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) signals fall in southeastern states.  Some folks think the Gray Catbird is relatively dull, especially when compared to some of the still brightly-colored migrating warblers and tanagers.  But this species is full of personality.  A Gray Catbird may first be discovered by hearing the meow-like call from deep within a thick tangle of vines or the base of small shrubs.  Then without any apparent reason, the bird will move boldly into the open, jerking its long tail and posing for the birder to admire the uniformly dark slate gray body, back and wings.  The nearly black cap, relatively large black eye and rufous undertail coverts combine to make this a strikingly handsome bird, as can be seen in the photo taken by Donna Faylo.  Click here to see more of Donnas photos.

In addition to the mewing sound, the Gray Catbird, a member of the Mimidae family, has a slow rambling warble, as well as hoarse notes with high, sharp chips and squeaks.  Unlike other members of this family (mockingbirds and thrashers), Gray Catbirds have little mimicry or repetitive sounds.  

Their summer range reaches well into all the northern states and southern Canada and west into the Canadian plains provinces but not as far as the west coast of the US.  They winter primarily along the Caribbean coast and the entire state of Florida.  While their summer diet consists mainly of insects and berries, the bulk of their winter diet is made up of vegetable matter.  Gray Catbirds often show up at backyard feeders, too.

Facts above gathered from The Sibley Guide to the Birds and Lives of North American Birds by Kenn Kaufman.

Share the beach w/nesting birds; tips from Nat'l Aud. How to remove fishing line from a hooked bird
For deeply embedded or swallowed hooks, or injuries to wings and legs call:
Marine Science Center(386) 304-5530, After Hours 386-561-0624

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