Open-cup songbird nests, like the one occupied by these catbirds, can be absolute marvels of weaving intricacy, but they’re still exposed to the elements. Gray Catbirds typically choose dense shrubs that both conceal the nest from predators and provide some degree of shelter. But when extremes come along—such as hot temperatures and direct sun or windstorms and heavy rain—the adults will do their best to cover the helpless chicks. This is especially important because the nestlings have not yet developed the contour and flight feathers that adults keep waterproof with preen oil.
On this particular afternoon a huge system of thunderstorms moved in. This was only mid-afternoon, but as you can see from the second video the clouds blocked almost all light. Buckets of rain poured down and lightning flashed all around, giving me a great opportunity to see this excellent parent sheltering the nestlings through the weather (make sure your sound is on for the full effect!).