Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)
 
Status in the Checklist Area - Rare to uncommon*
     
 
Information

A member of the Mimic Thrush family along with mockingbirds and thrashers. Rare in our checklist area but has been an almost annual breeder espeically at Cheam Lake Wetlands and in the Maria Slough area in Agassiz. Has also bred in Harrison Mills. Most common in the interior of the Province. After breeding, migrates south to Central America with most birds apparently gone from our checklist area by early to middle Septermber. This would be fairly consistent with data for the rest of the Province (eBird, 2014) Most sightings of birds returning from migration occur beginning in late May. A record exists from middle April which is over a month earlier than the next earliest record for the checklist area, or, for that matter, the rest of BC.

Gray Catbirds are often found in thickets and dense shrubs often near water. Can be difficult to see as they like to remain hidden but singing males will often sing from a conspicuous perch. Gray Catbirds can and do make a 'meowing' sound very similar to a cat.

Earliest record: April 16, 1994 (Sardis Pond, Chilliwack)
Latest record: September 23, 2012 (Cheam Lk. Wetlands)

Similar Species:
Not liable to be confused with other bird species given the unique overall gray colour, black cap and reddish undertail coverts.

Best Viewing Locations:
Cheam Lake Wetlands and the lower end of Maria Slough in Agassiz has been a reliable location over the last few years for this species. More than a few sightings exist for the Chehalis Estuary area as well.

Sources:
eBird
Ehrlich, Dobkin and Wheye, (1988)

     
Noteworthy Data
 
Date
Location
Sources
Comments
July 14, 2013 Maria Slough, Agassiz M. Brown 2013a At least two singing males. Possibly more. http://bcbirding.proboards.com/thread/6751/another-singing-catbird
July 08, 2013 North Bend C. McDonald 2013b Singing male near the clinic.
June 17, 2013 Seabird Island M. Brown 2013
G. Kalyn
Singing male found at same location where breeding evidence was recorded on June 21, 2011
September 23, 2012 Cheam Lake Wetlands Regional Park, Popkum C. McDonald 2012e Latest record for species in checklist area.
August 11, 2011 Hope Airport G. Gadsden 2011i First record for Hope Airport.
September 16, 2010 Island 22 Regional Park, Chilliwack G. Gadsden 2010g One bird feeding on snowberries.
June 26, 2010 Eagle Point Community Park, Harrison Mills B. Schmor 2010 Single bird. Second year in a row the species recorded at the site.
August 23, 2009 Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve, Chilliwack B & J Clayton 2009b First record for park.
July 17, 2009 Cheam Lake Wetlands Regional Park, Popkum G. Gadsden 2009c Two adults feeding at least two fairly newly fledged young.
July 4, 2009 Eagle Point Community Park, Harrison Mills B. Schmor 2009a Two birds in the northern section of the park.
June 25, 2009 Agassiz D. Knopp 2009a
N. Sands
Mated pair northeast of the Agassiz Experimental Farm.
May, 29, 2009 Hope River, Chilliwack K. Pyke 2009 Singing male observed from a kyack just upstream of Chartwell Drive.
May 25, 2009 Cheam Lake Wetlands Regional Park, Popkum K. Jones 2009c Male singing at parking lot. Seen daily for much of summer.
September 04, 2008 Island 22, Chilliwack G. Gadsden 2008m One bird in equestrian area.
August 30, 2008 Maria Slough, Agassiz M. Brown 2008c One adult and one newly fledged juvenile.
August 13,2008 Cheam Lake Wetlands Regional Park, Popkum G. Gadsden 2008l Two adults feeding two juveniles near parking lot.
August 10, 2008 Maria Slough, Agassiz M. Brown 2008b One and possibly a second bird.
June 17, 2008 Cheam Lake Wetlands Regional Park, Popkum G. Gadsden 2008l Singing at parking lot.
August 20, 2007 Maria Slough, Agassiz M. Brown 2007 One juvenile.
Summer 2005 Chehalis River Estuary K. Stewart 2005 A pair bred successfully well upstream from Eagle Point Community Park. Photographs.
July 11, 2004 Cheam Lake Wetlands Regional Park, Popkum G. Gadsden 2004b Pair feeding recently fledged young near parking lot. First confirmed breeding record despite singing male in 2001 and 2003 at same location.
May 26, 2002 Cheam Lake Wetlands Regional Park, Popkum White Rock and Surrey Naturalists 2002 Found at the bridge near the lake outflow.
JUne 6, 2001 Cheam Lake Wetlands Regional Park, Popkum Vancouver RBA 2001 No details provided.
August 18, 2000 Cheam Lake Wetlands Regional Park, Popkum G. Gadsden 2000c Scolding on Loop Trail. First record for park. Not detected again despite further searches on following days.
April 16, 1994 Sardis Pond, Chilliwack D. Knopp 1994c Seen briefly and never relocated. Earliest record for checklist area.
1987 Skagit Valley Provincial Park D. Knopp 1987 RBCM record.
 
Photographs
           
           
                   
                   
                   
Audio and Video    
None available
 

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