Woodland Songsters

May 12, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

   Can you guess the three Thrush's? 

One is a Hermit Thrush, one is a Wood Thrush and one is a Swainson's Thrush. 

Scroll down on to see the answer and a few differences between the three.

Wood ThrushWood Thrush Swainson's ThrushSwainson's Thrush Hermit ThrushHermit Thrush

 

 

All three of the thrushes in this blog post have beautiful songs that can be heard ringing through the deep forests of Pennsylvania.  I recently had encounters with a Wood Thrush, a migrating Hermit and Swainson’s Thrush.  I thought it would be interesting to draw some comparisons between the three since they are all so similar.

 

Wood Thrush

The Wood Thrush uses its cinnamon brown upperparts as camouflage as it scraps for leaf-litter invertebrates in the forest.  If it pops up to look around, you will see its boldly spotted breast.

Wood ThrushWood Thrush

Wood Thrush

 

Hermit Thrush

The Hermit Thrush, considered a migrant in Western Pennsylvania, goes unnoticed while lurking in the understories of forests in summer.   It is the only one of our brown, spotted thrushes with dull brown upperparts and a strongly contrasting rusty tail. Frequently flicks its tail.

Hermit ThrushHermit Thrush

Hermit Thrush

 

Hermit compared to Wood:

  • Similar to Wood Thrush but smaller and more slender
  • Longer tail
  • Drab grayish-brown above
  • Contrasting brick-red tail

 

Swainson’s Thrush

The Swainson’s Thrush is nearly a total migrant in Pennsylvania.  Its song, while perhaps not as beautiful as that of the Hermit Thrush, is better known to most bird-watchers because it sings more frequently during migration.   It is also a ground-dwelling bird of the northern forests.

Swainson's ThrushSwainson's Thrush

Swainson's Thrush

 

Swainson’s Thrush compared to Wood:

  • Similar to Wood Thrush but smaller and more slender
  • Small bill
  • Dull olive-gray above
  • Buffy wash on face and neck

 

Swainson’s compared to Hermit:

  • Similar to Hermit Thrush, but more slender and longer-winged
  • Dull olive-gray back and tail
  • Buffy "spectacles" and face
  • Buffy throat

 

 How did you do?

Until next time,

Dan


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