Our backyard Gray Catbird, Luigi, and his catbird family live on a schedule.
They get up early, forage for food, and then take a morning birdbath. The catbirds disappear during the daytime while temps are at their hottest. Then reappear just before dusk for another bite of food, a bit of birdsong, and another quick birdbath.
So what’s the trick to attracting these quirky birds to your backyard?
Attracting Gray Catbirds to Your Backyard
You draw catbirds into your backyard by planting fruit-bearing trees and shrubs.
In addition to a wide range of insect pests, the Catbird is particularly fond of fruiting Viburnum, Serviceberry (Amelanchier), Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), Winterberry (Ilex verticillata), and Dogwood (Cornus sericea, C. alba, C. alternifolia, C. florida and C. kousa).
Catbirds eat lots of fruit, so planting berry-producing thickets and shrubs like Wild Blackberry and Wild Grapevines will attract catbirds to your yard.
Gray Catbirds Love Fruit
Wild Blackberry is an excellent choice because the plant produces thorny hedges, which the catbirds prefer for nesting.
Knowing their love for fruit, we offer catbirds the green leafy part (calyx) of our strawberries and halved oranges, peaches and apples. Catbirds may eat mealworms too.
Don’t Prune Overgrown Bushes
Catbirds avoid lying over open spaces and instead prefer to hop from one low shrub or tree to the next. They nest in thickets 4′ or so off the ground, so to keep your Catbirds happy, avoid pruning overgrown bushes until they leave your backyard for the fall migration.
What might not seem perfect to us often makes an ideal home for your favorite backyard birds.