About two days ago, my partner Siobhan and I went for our daily walk, which criss-crosses several large fields on neighboring property. While walking along a hedgerow, we came across a Gray Catbird, singing from near the top of a Wild Sumac. So nice! Catbirds have just come back from migration, and it was a joy to see and hear our first one of the season. And that’s when my idea was hatched: I’ll return at the break of dawn on the first clear sky day and videotape this very same catbird in full song, silhouetted against the dawning sky.

So I went back today at 5am, and things worked out pretty well. Although I was hankering for a orange sky, as opposed to a blue one, I’m quite pleased with the result. The video features my two best-looking clips. The audio is also sufficient. I recorded it at the same time I did the videotaping, using a directional shotgun microphone. There were lots of others birds sounding off nearby, so it was difficult getting a clean and clear rendition. Nonetheless, I’m pleased.

Whatya think? Did I do OK with this one?

A Sidenote: Catbirds sing song-phrase after song-phrase and each phrase is different from the one that precedes or follows it. In fact, catbirds have hundreds of different song-phrases to draw from, so each singing bout is comprised of an entirely unique string of highly variable phrases. As a result, trying to lip-synch a singing catbird using a recording of the same or a different bird gathered at a different time is really not feasible. There are simply too many variations to deal with. So that’s why I put some special effort into recording in real time, right as I gathered the video footage itself.

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