Thursday, December 18, 2008
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.