[CT Birds] catbirds

Brian Webster b.webster at hotmail.com
Fri Jun 12 10:24:20 EDT 2009

6/12, Stratford yard/woods-
(13) Catbirds!!
(1) Hooded Warbler
I heard several catbird calls in my yard so I went to check and there were 5 at my suet, and 2 on the surrounding roofs.  I heard more in the woods, so I went in to get a complete count and I got 13.  There could have been more too.
I'm wondering if any are fledglings.  Earlier in the season, during peak migration, I had a high count of 10 throughout the woods, powerline cut and my yard.  After that there were at least 8 throughout the areas combined.
I also ran into my buddy the Hooded warbler while counting the catbirds.  Other birs seen/heard during that short time were GC Flycatchers, Pewee, Baltimore Oriole, a couple Wood Thrushes, Rose-breasted Grosbeak (a female nested in a tree of poison ivy across the street), a WB Nuthatch going back and forth from his nest cavity to my suet/black oil sunflower, Blue-winged Warbler, Common Yellowthroats, and a Yellow warbler....  All of which, other than the Pewee, I have confirmed as nesters.
I watched an interesting batter royale, similar to one mentioned in a report on CTBirds a little while ago.  I have 3 suet feeders chained together, and there were 2 Downys, 3 of the catbirds, and a male Red-belly on or waiting to be one the suet.
Out of nowhere, a big 'ol Flicker landed on the shedherd's hook next to the Lilac bush where the suet is.  Everyone but 1 catbird and the Red-belly took off.  First, the catbird jumped to a platform feeder hanging from the hook to jaw at the Flicker.  For whatever reason, the catbird lost it's nerve and joined the rest on the roof.  
Then the Flicker jumped to the ground to pick up fallen chunks of suet.  The Red-belly scooted down the chain to about a foot from the ground and then both opened their bills and raised their wings at each other.  To my suprise, the Red-belly jumped on the ground and hassled the Flicker away.
Next to join the fight were 4 Blue Jays.  They came in, rather obnoxiously, and just took over.  2 landed on the hook, one on the platform feeder, and one on the ground.  The ground Blue Jay and Red-belly began fighting, while the other three Blue Jays cheered the 4th on, and again the Red-belly won.
All the Blue Jays left after the one lost, then a catbird came back, and a House Wren landed on the fence a minute or two later.  The Red-belly and catbird went at it, causing the catbird to jump/flop up in the air near the House Wren.  The catbird landed on the fence a few pickets away from the wren. The wren started 'screaming' (ya know that hoarse, rattly call thing?) and darted at the catbird, bill first.
The Red-belly was just watching and eating while the wren and catbird went at it.  Until the wren beat the batbird, jumped down to the suet, and chased off the Red-belly!
4 Blue Jays, 3-4 Catbirds, 2 Downies, a male Flicker, a male Red-belly, and a House Wren.  I would never have guessed the House Wren would be the last in the ring.
-Brian Webster-
Stratford, CT
b.webster at hotmail.com 
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