Cat Birds

We have backyard bird feeders. Like most places in the US we struggle with European Starlings. Enter the mewing of cat birds. Cat birds are not particularly pretty. They are grey with a distinctive shape. Last year several cat birds took up residence in the maple trees near our feeders. It was entertaining to watch, because they would come out of the tree to chase the starlings away from the feeders.

On Saturday morning, I was editing Copycat Dreams outside on the patio. The assembly of birds were noisy. Suddenly the noise ratcheted up. I of course looked up to see what was going on. Two cat birds were fighting with six starlings. To my surprise the outnumbered cat birds apparently won, because the starlings left. But another sight caught my attention before I looked back down at my laptop screen… a mated pair of house finches had come to the feeders along with a downy woodpecker. All three were on feeders just above the cat birds. A starling gets close to the feeders and the cat birds go on the offensive.

They chased it off. But it completely ignored the smaller finches and the woodpecker. That’s kind of strange. I suspect it has something to do with aggression levels. Cat birds are aggressive. That is actually the reason they were named cat birds. According to Missouri Conservation, starlings are also aggressive. Personally, I prefer the cat birds to the starlings… especially since the stupid starlings and sparrows damaged our gutter guards to build nests.

It’s still strange to watch birds guard feeders from just one other type of bird. They don’t chase off the grackles or red wing black birds either, so there is something specific about starlings they dislike.

Every year I keep a log of the birds I see at our bird feeders. So far this year, I have not seen a single grackle. I have pigeons, sparrows, starlings, cat birds, downy woodpeckers, house finches, goldfinches, lesser goldfinches, robins, blue jays, cardinals, red-headed woodpeckers, chickadees, and what I suspect is a mutant ruby-throated hummingbird. I saw the same (or similar) hummingbird a few times last year. It’s red and black. I know what a ruby throated hummingbird looks like, I’ve seen hundreds of them. We get visited by a few other species of hummingbirds, but they look nothing like the hummingbird I’ve seen the past two years. This year I saw it up close while working and it is black, not green. It likes my irises.


One thought on “Cat Birds

  1. I love birds but don’t have a good place for feeders. There really isn’t any place to put them where they can be seen from inside. 😢

    Liked by 1 person

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