[Tweeters] Catbird

Douglas Canning dcanning at zhonka.net
Wed Sep 28 14:33:35 PDT 2005

On 27 Sep 2005, George B. Cobel wrote:

> My wife and I believe that we observed a Catbird in the Bellevue Arboretum

> this Monday. We recently moved here from Michigan and know the species.

> Our guide books do not show Catbirds this far west. Are we mistaken?

I believe you did.

Jewett, et al., 1953 (Birds of Washington State, p 505) summarize the
Western Catbird as "Fairly common migrant and summer resident from May 15
to September 20 in brushy localities in the Upper Sonoran and Transition
Zones of eastern Washington; casually to western Washington." They list
westside records for Bellingham (June 25, 1922), Snoqualmie (July 18,
1925), and Seattle (July 12, 1931).

Campbell, et al., 1997 (The Birds of British Columbia, Vol 3, p 430) map
the Gray Catbird as present in most parts of very the southwest British
Columbia mainland in all but the winter, with breeding occurring in the
lower Fraser Valley. Annual occurrence is indicated from mid-April through
mid-October, with the breeding season running from late May through late

Wahl, et al., 2005 (Birds of Washington, p 298) summarize the Gray Catbird
as "Locally common summer resident in e. Washington, possibly occasional
breeder in nw. Washington" in Whatcom and Skagit counties.

I believe I saw one at Nisqually on June 10, 1982, but I don't have a
sufficiently good enough record to convince anyone else. (Let that be a
lesson to me to never throw out any of my original field note books!)

So while rare in western Washington, especially south of Whatcom and
Skagit counties, I think it's entirely reasonable that you saw a Catbird,
especially since you know the bird.

Douglas Canning
Olympia, Washington
dcanning at zhonka.net

More information about the Tweeters mailing list