Bold, myrmecophagous catbird

I saw a catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) in Kendall Square. He was on the ground behind the T stop, foraging for ants. I stopped about five feet from him and said “catbird!”. He noticed me but didn’t fly anywhere – indeed, rambled on up to within a foot or two of my feet. He was mainly pecking at the ants in the open, but also darted over to some dead leaves to upturn them with his beak. When an ant fled the leafpile, he chased it down and ate it. I’m not sure why he bothered with this, since there were a lot of ants right at his feet, but maybe he liked having the distance from me to eat.

This is interesting to me because I’ve never seen a catbird in the city at all. I think of them as birds of suburban shrublands and woods. Nor have I ever seen one so bold!

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