For reasons I will never know, gray catbirds chose not to nest in my backyard this year. Since spring, I have been both looking and listening for this secretive bird.  Since I did not hear or see a catbird by the end of the third week in July, I was convinced I would not see one near my home this year.

        However, less than a week ago, one flew in and landed on a wire suet feeder hanging outside my home office.  I could not believe my eyes!  I immediately stopped working at my computer and watched the bird as it ate a couple of chunks of peanut butter-flavored bird pudding. I was just getting ready to snap a photo of the feeding bird when a brown thrasher scared the catbird away when it flew in the claim its share of the food.

        After the thrasher left, the catbird returned and briefly fed again.  Then it vanished.  This time it fed on the bird pudding while it was perched atop the feeder as a downy woodpecker fed while hanging on the side of the feeder.

        Over the years, gray catbirds have rarely visited my feeders. When they have shown up, they have always fed on suet.  I have never seen one eat any birdseed.  However, they are purported to eat fruit-flavored suit, jelly, cornbread, peanut butter and raisins.  They will also occasionally feed at hummingbird feeders.

        While I have not been successful attracting catbirds to my feeders, they will regularly visit my birdbaths.

        The catbirds that inhabit my yard during summers past have apparently been content to feed on berries and invertebrates.  In late summer, they feed on American beautyberries.

        I hope the gray catbird that recently made a late appearance in my yard, will hang around at least until the American beautyberries ripen.  If it does, perhaps it will serenade me with its cat-like call and long (up to 10 minutes) highly variable song.

        As you can tell, I greatly appreciate the return of the catbird.


  1. I have a catbird that regularly comes to my suet feeder. Love seeing them in both the front and back yards.

    • Martha,

      You are indeed fortunate to have a catbird living around your home; most folks are not that lucky.


  2. Terry, I have had several families raised in my backyard for the last 40 years. They feed primarily on suet but love grape jelly, oranges, grapes and cherries. I go thru several large jars of grape jelly every summer. They are the most common bird in my backyard and are visible almost constantly. They raise several broods a year. I have several feeders with different kinds of seeds but have never seen the catbirds eat seed. I buy suet by the case. They are fun to watch and we enjoy our catbirds.

    • Wow! I am envious. I have never heard of anyone lucky enough to see the birds that often or having to feed them so much. How do you keep the ants of the the suet?


  3. The catbird is one of our favorites in our subdivision lot which fortunately has what we call the tangle at the east property line. We enjoy a pair spring and early summer and I believe they have nested at least once if not more. Suit, beauty berries just ripening, and bird bath are used.
    John Swiderski, Valdosta

    • John,

      Fantastic! You are spot on about tangles. I think the bird could easily be called the Tangle Bird. They eat beautyberries around our house too; however, they are not ripe yet.


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