One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A long-tailed American songbird of the mockingbird family, with mainly dark gray or black plumage and catlike calls.
- ‘I'll bet if we put meal worms out on a platform - as some folks do during the winter for bluebirds - robins, catbirds and others would gobble them up!’
- ‘Of course, we spotted starlings, pigeons, doves, catbirds, grackles, blackbirds, cardinals, robins, blue jays, and mockingbirds, along with the expected three species of woodpecker.’
- ‘Instead of a symphony of song, we were treated to little more than the mewling of catbirds.’
- ‘Not only is the Cape flush with cardinals, towhees, mockingbirds, catbirds, goldfinches and woodpeckers, its birds of the shore entice many a visitor here.’
- ‘For the record, we also saw lots of catbirds, sparrows, and other New York birds of summer.’
- ‘This aged tree knows that the only invitation catbirds need to start building their nests is a sturdy bush where they can find shelter and a place to raise a family.’
- ‘I don't understand how so many other people are able to feed their catbirds and orioles.’
- ‘Round the list out with the expected sparrows, cardinals, crows, starlings, doves, and catbirds, and you've got a nice hour of birding.’
- ‘We saw lots of catbirds, blackbirds, mockingbirds, cardinals, crows, and grackles.’
- ‘Cardinals and catbirds enjoy whatever the pear tree has to tempt them.’
- ‘We predicted, based on the egg mimicry hypothesis, that robins and catbirds would eject white cuckoo eggs and accept mimetic blue cuckoo eggs.’
- ‘It is probably catbirds' habit of flicking dead leaves aside with their bill that exposes catbirds to questing ticks.’
- ‘Because catbirds inhabit such dense shrubby areas and are more likely heard than seen, I am often surprised by how many people tell me that their favorite bird is the catbird.’
- ‘Although first cousin to the melodious mockingbird, a catbird's song is seldom musical.’
- ‘The most famous mimic in this family is the northern mockingbird, followed closely by the gray catbird, which is so-named because of its ability to imitate the mewing of a cat.’
- ‘Robins, hummingbirds, catbirds, thrushes and even a grouse or two, usually not attracted by seed feeders, are drawn to this water in our backyard garden.’
- ‘Among birds that can be attracted in the summer are brown thrashers, catbirds, robins, thrushes, waxwings, woodpeckers, orioles, cardinals, towhees and grosbeaks.’
- ‘Where there are briars or large, dense shrubs, catbirds are sure to be present.’
- ‘She saw many colorful birds that she knew only from the books she studied: a cardinal and its mate, a cowbird, a catbird, two blue jays, and what she thought was a titmouse.’
- ‘She and her colleagues collected a total of 30 individuals from among gray catbirds, Swainson's thrashes, and wood thrashes.’
2A thickset Australasian bird of the bowerbird family, typically with a loud call like a yowling cat. It does not generally construct bowers.
in the catbird seat
informal In a superior or advantageous position.
- ‘In fact, everything about the insurance company suggests they know they're in the catbird seat.’
- ‘For several years, design professionals sat in the catbird seat, able to parlay personnel shortages in a boom market into significant pay and benefit packages.’
- ‘The catbird seat can't remain vacant, but who is there to fill it?’
- ‘‘This is a triumph of his, not a desperate, tragic failure,’ she said by phone, recounting that she was sitting in her husband's chair he called his catbird seat in the Rockies.’
- ‘Magazines have weathered the on-line storm, as it were, and are back in the catbird seat.’
- ‘The police are in the catbird seat, but do not seem to realize it.’
- ‘‘Michael wants to know how the view is up there in the catbird seat,’ Norris replied.’
- ‘Today founders are in the catbird seat when investors come calling.’
- ‘They enjoy being in the catbird seat, perched at a high elevation, with a commanding view of a vast expanse of open air, high above the landmass below.’
- ‘Sooner or later the customer will need brakes or shocks or a major service and suddenly the dealer is in the catbird seat.’
- ‘For now, though, he's in the catbird's seat again, doing what he does best: coach the ball team.’
- ‘Observers say that today's ride not only puts him in the catbird's seat, but in great shape for a seventh consecutive Tour de France win.’
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