Thursday, February 22, 2007


Suddenly, they're everywhere. Spring arrives on their tailfeathers. I adore these aggressive little things. They follow me in the garden walking right up close to see what the shovel's going to expose. Fat little red-breasted birds, such cuties.



Blogger evilganome said...

I'm a big fan of catbirds myself. They follow me around the garden whenever I am spading over earth or weeding, picking up any bugs that get disturbed. They are incredibly bold and can be real clowns.

February 23, 2007 8:19 AM  
Anonymous tater said...

I just love Robins, and can't wait until they show up in my neck of the woods.

February 23, 2007 11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Belle, I'm glad that in your corner of the world Robins still come and go. Perhaps they still do up here as well, notwithstanding a conspicuous wintering population that is either too lazy or too smart to migrate, depending on your opinion of global warming. Birdbrains!

--Freddy in P'town

February 23, 2007 8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I adore catbirds, too! I remember them well from my North Carolina childhood. "Listen to the mockingbird," my Aunt Pearlie said, inconclusively.

That, and the wailing, bizarrely arranged brilliance of Inez & Charlie Foxx's 1962 lullaby (#7 pop, #2 R&B) made me wonder. Catbirds aren't mockingbirds, but are kith and kin, mimic thrushes whose eponymous mewls are just the start of it.

Unable to get by on looks, they substitute sauciness and talent. Supposedly they can sound like anything; I have read about their imitations of cell phones, when ringtones were still dominant. Down home, generations of nesters in my grandma's Chinaberry tree simply and and stunningly imitated the sound of the gently slamming screen door.

Sometimes, briefly, they would get more mockingbird-like (I assume they weren't actually mockingbirds, which are less common). The critic as young queen always concluded that these catbirds were enthusiastic mediocrities: they could sing anything they had heard, in near-perfect pitch, but in the same, damn boring key, with none of the imperfections that delineated the charm and vulnerability of the source. I am not accusing the catbird of being the Pat Boones or 101 Strings of the avian world. I'm just sayin!

February 23, 2007 8:27 PM  

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