Thursday, December 18, 2008

Winter thrush

The Hermit Thrushes have returned for the winter. They're silent here, for the most part — you only spot them from their movements.

(Nothing to see here, just a bump on the branch, move along, move along...)

They desert us in summer, breeding as far north as mid-Alaska.

Wood Thrushes have an opposite agenda:
1. Arrive in spring.
2. Sing like a lovesick fool all summer long.
3. Shuffle off to Panama once the days grow short.

Someone once told me: the Hermit Thrush is rusty on his tail, and the Wood Thrush is rusty on his head. I can never recall which is which in the field, though. There are easier distinctions anyway, especially when you aren't usually in a position to be peering down on their heads or tails. (The Wood Thrush's spots are much darker, for example.)

During migration it can get confusing, with the Veery, Swainson's Thrush, and Gray-cheeked Thrush also thrown into the mix. I'm afraid I may have fallen out of practice in telling them apart without having a field guide handy.


KFarmer said...

I saw my first Tuffed Tit Mouse yesterday and was thrilled. Your pictures (as usual) were lovely :)

robin andrea said...

One of my favorite songs in all the woods is the Swainson's Thrush. I think the Hermit has a lovely one as well. Those spring songs are the best music of all.

Gail said...

I know the usual suspects at the feeder and some others I adore that hang around the garden...but not that there was a hermit thrush. Time to ge the old Eastern USA bird book out!

soap bubble set said...

On a bird-related topic, I thought you might enjoy this poem/image combo. Maybe not, but you seem to like artists and poets, and these are two greats.

Pamela said...

I saw my first hermit thrush this winter... at first I thought I was just seeing a song sparrow and then I saw it's rusty tail.

Susan Gets Native said...

Those Wood Thrushes....what slackers. Leaving when the going gets rough.

We have Wood Thrushes across the road from our property, and their song just curls my toes.
Eh-lee-oooo-lay.....God, I love that.

Rurality said...

Thanks everybody, sorry I have not been good about getting back to answer comments!