Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Complaining catbirds


The spotted catbirds (Ailuroedus melanotis) are not happy. In order to get a clear line of sight to the satellite, the installers had to cut down a tree. Just a small tree. One that was only a few years old, probably a post-Larry seedling. But it was a tree with lots of perching spots that gave the catbirds a good view of my living room.

They still use the adjacent yellow evodia Melicope bonwickii, which is about the same height and girth and also bedecked with plenty of branches of just the right diameter. But it isn't the same. The catbirds glance at the space where the perfect tree once stood and then stare at me.

If they vandalise the dish, I won't be at all surprised.

To add insult to injury, Australia Post's 'Songbird' series of stamps features the green catbird (A. crassirostris), a closely related species from south-eastern Queensland and coastal New South Wales. I would imagine that the epithet 'songbird' refers to their classification as passerines and is not linked to their calls. Both the green and spotted catbirds are the Florence Foster Jenkins of the bird world. Here's the call of a green catbird, just in case you're not convinced.

4 comments:

desertnutmeg said...

Gawd I've missed your writing. The Florence Foster Jenkins of the bird world. LOL!! Thanks for the Tuesday pick-me-up. Great photos as usual! And congrats on the dish--I'm jealous!

Kim (frogpondsrock) said...

Hi I just found your blog. So I thought I would say hello. I clicked over to hear their voice hmmm I wonder if the person who classified them was tone deaf. I googled Florence Foster Jenkins as well. So thankyou for an interesting visit.

Dave Coulter said...

Your catbirds are much flashier than ours are!

Snail said...

Catbirds have a lot of personailty, Desertnutmeg --- just like FFJ.

Kim, welcome! Despite their lack of singing ability, that call is one of my favourite rainforest sounds.

Dave, I had to look up the American catbirds. I've just plugged another gap in my knowledge. Ours are bowerbirds. Odd bowerbirds, though, because they don't build bowers. They are definitely rather splendid-looking.