This weekend I took an early morning walk on my favourite river trail and enjoyed the little sunshine we had that day. (We do need rain and I am not complaining about the wet, cool weather.) I have walked this trail weekly this spring and have been delighted with some new discovery every time. A couple of weeks ago, there were many Baltimore Orioles visible as they sang in the trees. The next week I saw numbers of Yellow Warblers working with nesting materials. This was the week of the Catbird.
I saw the first Grey Catbirds in our neighbourhood and around the hospital at the end of last week, but did not hear their distinctive call. While walking the trail on Saturday, I saw four Orioles, two Yellow Warblers, heard one Warbling Vireo, and saw an abundance of Catbirds. They were "mewing" in the low shrubs and bushes and it took only a couple of minutes waiting to see them move around the higher branches, still vocalizing in their unique way. The Catbird is an imitator like the Mockingbird and Brown Thrasher, but it has a squeakier voice and imitates a song only once. They do not always make cat-like sounds, but that is what I heard on this day.
While this bird is not uncommon, it is on the "Conservation Priority" list for this river shed area.
These species have been identified by Bird Studies Canada to help planning authorities set priorities for conservation efforts. In this way, bird species and habitat that are significant within the Grand River Watershed are targeted for conservation efforts. A total of 120 species in our watershed have this status. (Source)
I have identified fifty-three bird species along this trail so far this year. There are 292 birds on sighting list for the Grand River watershed, so I have a lot more to find. Who knows what the next bird of the week will be??