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A Famous Little Bird: The Yellow-breasted Chat


Yellow-breasted Chat, by John James Audubon
Accession number 1836.17.137.
ęCollection of The New-York Historical Society
www.nyhistory.org

This is not a teenager!

    It's a Chat.

The male chat is an exuberant showoff during mating season, famous for giddy, joyful mating displays for his lady's eye. No "Mr. Cool" until it's settled, and then the mates build their nest.

How 'bout "song"? Although they are wood-warblers, chat "song" consists of grunts, whistles, squeals, gurgles, clucks, cackles and "other strange sounds." Whence the human expression, ' Shall we have a little chat?' ?

Despite their color, Yellow-breasted Chats are hard to find in the woods. They like dense thickets; shrubs with brambles and vines in which to hide. Chats live across much of N. America. (They migrate to southern Baja California, Central Mexico, Yucatan and Panama in the winter.)

They are insect eaters with a hearty appetite for fruit such as strawberries, blackberries, and grapes.

Save your trees and scrubby brush for them. And berries.


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