Photo by John Briggs

An interesting sound as we recreate within the Mohawk Towpath Byway corridor is the song of the Catbird.  Audubon publications say that the bird got its name because it sounds like an cat’s, “Meow.”  It’s a unique sound in trees and low brush, and, usually, has two very distinct syllables, like “me-ow”.  If it were a cat making that sound it would certainly be in distress, and from a bird, I first wondered if there were something wrong with it’s voice mechanism.  The sound is so gravelly.

The bird is hard to spot because of it’s drab grey or brown coloration.  To find the source of the call, one needs to stop and wait for the bird to move.

What is really curious is, in this area, the Catbird’s call can even take on a sound like, “Er-ie.”  When I have heard a Catbird in other areas of the northeast, I have never heard “Er-ie,” just the distinct, “Me-ow.”

What do you think?  [Other than the fact that I am an Erie Canal fanatic and have “really gone to the birds.” …and further I apologize to former fans of Red Barber.]  Whatever you’re thinking get out and take your observations now.  The Catbird seems to be one of the last species to arrive in the spring and one of the first to migrate to warmer climes when the nesting season is over.

The Byway provides unique experiences, and as I have said many times before, exhibits change daily.