Unlike their classic cat-like "meowing call" the Gray Catbird sings much like a Mockingbird - a close relative. Unlike the Mockingbird the Catbird is often hidden in heavy cover and you probably hear its song more often than you know. But when you hear the "mewing call" there is no doubt of the Catbirds presence:
Gray Catbirds are close relatives of mockingbirds and thrashers, and they share that group’s vocal abilities, copying the sounds of other species and stringing them together to make their own song.
Male Gray Catbirds sing a long, halting series of short notes collected into "phrases," which combine to make a song. One whole song can last many minutes. Sounds include whistles, squeaks, gurgles, whines, and nasal tones. The notes often are imitations of other birds as well as of frogs and mechanical sounds. The series of sounds is random, but certain notes are often repeated. While mockingbirds tend to repeat phrases three or more times, and Brown Thrashers typically sing phrases twice before moving on, Catbirds usually don’t repeat phrases. Females sing infrequently, and when they do, their songs are sung more quietly.
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