Tag Archives: Merlin Bird ID

The raspy mew and quiet quirt of the catbird

Gray Catbird perched in the Dracaena marginata in our backyard.

Someone planted a couple of houseplants from Home Depot a number of years ago and now we have a little dragontree forest.

“Gray Catbird” was one of the voices I recorded and identified this morning using Sound ID on the Merlin Bird ID app. From about 7 to 7:30 a.m. I recorded the birds off and on and watched the different bird IDs pop up on the screen.

It highlights the bird names as it’s hearing them, in real time, which helps me learn the bird songs and calls.

Birds I heard in my backyard this morning over the course of half an hour and one cup of coffee: Northern Parula, Northern Cardinal, Pileated Woodpecker, Gray Catbird, Blue Jay, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Carolina Wren, Fish Crow, Osprey, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Hawk and Great-crested Flycatcher.

Gray Catbird Sounds, according to Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds…


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.


The most common call is a raspy mew that sounds like a cat. Catbirds also make a loud, chattering chek-chek-chek and a quiet quirt.

I also play Wordle first thing in the morning. I can only hope that someday the word will be QUIRT.