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Small dark gray bird with black cap/crown in northern NJ

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The birds are small - comparable to sparrows - and are dark gray with a black cap/crown.  No white at all on the body.  The description matches a catbird, but these birds are quite small - around 4".  Any ideas?

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21 minutes ago, Peromyscus said:

Welcome, AES. How sure are you of the length of these birds?

@AES, welcome to Whatbird!

Respectfully, size is very difficult to estimate accurately.  If everything else seems to indicate Gray Catbird except the estimated size, it may indeed be a catbird.


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Okay, I finally found some online photos that match my little birds.  The birds in my yard are a little darker all around than this picture, but they're definitely catbirds (although smaller than it says in the Falcon Guide for the Eastern Region).   I'd like to hear their cat-like call.

catbird 01.jpg

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4 hours ago, AES said:

 (although smaller than it says in the Falcon Guide for the Eastern Region)

Did you capture these birds and measure them with a ruler? All due respect, but it’s far more likely you are misjudging the size rather than the field guide being wrong or the specific individual Catbirds you’ve seen being smaller than average .

Edited by AlexHenry
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1 hour ago, Kevin said:

@AES seems to be confident that he/she is seeing Gray Catbirds, so unless the op has more questions regarding these birds, lets let this thread go.

Respectfully, I'd like to point out to @AESthat size is one of the hardest things to judge in the field, and sometimes hard to judge in photos too. Don't get discouraged if you're repeatedly reminded of that fact on the forums. Size is easy to misjudge and it happens to ALL of us, and I suspect that it's because it has happened to ALL of us, that many of us will repeatedly emphasize the difficulty of estimating a bird's size. Don't take it personally or get discouraged if people point out that, contrary to popular belief, size DOES matter, but it's hard to judge. ?

Welcome to the forums AES. ?

Edited by lonestranger
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