Range
Gray Catbird breeds from the southern mainland of British Columbia, the southern half of the Canadian Prairie provinces, southern Ontario, southwestern Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia south through Washington, eastern Oregon, Utah, and eastern Texas, east to the Atlantic coast. Winters mainly on the coastal fringe of the Gulf coast and eastern Mexico, south to Panama and the Caribbean islands.

Status in British Columbia
On the coast, rare to uncommon migrant and summer visitant locally to the lower Fraser River valley, Squamish River valley, Pemberton valley, and Bella Coola River valley; casual elsewhere on the coast.
In the interior, an uncommon migrant and summer visitant to the Southern Interior, Southern Interior Mountains, and Central Interior ecoprovinces, except locally fairly common in the Okanagan valley and in the vicinity of Williams Lake; further north, a casual summer visitant in the SubBoreal Interior and the Boreal Plains ecoprovinces; casual in winter in the Southern Interior, accidental in the Southern Interior Mountains.

Breeding
The species reaches its highest numbers in summer in the Okanagan valley of the Southern Interior. General habitats for reported nests were natural shrub thickets and human-influenced habitats, mainly gardens, orchards, vineyards, hedgerows, and uncultivated land associated with farms. In the Okanagan valley, natural sites are frequently in moist draws and riparian areas. Populations are small and local throughout British Columbia, with pairs widely scattered in suitable habitat. Nests are usually built in dense tangles of vegetation. The nest is a bulky assemblage of coarse material. The nest cup is lined with fine grass, plant fibres, and other soft items. Some pairs, in the Okanagan valley at least, are double-brooded. It is not known what proportion of second clutches followed the loss of a first clutch rather than a successful first brood. Sizes of 122 clutches ranged from 1 to 6 eggs, with most having 4 or 5 eggs.

Remarks
The Gray Catbird was formerly known as Catbird. It has been reported that the Gray Catbird destroyed a variety of eggs of other species placed near the nest.


The Royal British Columbia Museum
Canadian Heritage Information Network

Copyright © 2003, Royal British Columbia Museum Corporation (RBCM). All rights reserved.

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans