Sunday, August 27, 2006

My Favorite Songsters

NOTE: None of the photos in this entry are my own.

There are few birds than can match the voice of any given member of the thrush family.

Over the past day or so, some of you may have noticed the addition of sound to my blog. Rather than choose automatically playing music, I opted to go for the enchanting natural music of one of my favorite songbirds; the Hermit Thrush, for an authentic Northeastern forest vibe.

With it's drab coloration, the hermit thrush is more often heard than seen. It feeds within our forests (and possibly yours), by digging around leaf litter, and occassionally taking after insects by wing. (See range map below.)

The French refer to it as the Grive solitaire, a name that seems more phonetically fitting, for such an eloquent songster. (Why is it that everything sounds so much more appealing in french?)

The Hermit Thrush is the hardiest of all thrushes, often wintering here in Pennsylvania when other thrushes have long dissapeared. Perhaps the fact that it's not a 'fair weather friend' to Pennsylvania is why I enjoy it's company so much.

Similar species, who's voices are equally appealing (click links for song) :

The Wood Thrush is the most common thrush in Pennsylvania, aside from the American Robin. I see it frequently, and it's song is similar to the Hermit Thrush, but more bubbly. It along with the Hermit Thrush, and Veery, are ranked among my top 5 favorite songbirds to hear.

The Veery is one I seldom hear in this portion of the state, but I have heard it, particularly during spring migration. It's song is more haunting than any of the others, and when I do actually get the chance to hear one sing, it's a special treat!

The Swainson's Thrush migrates through Pennsylvania, but I must say, that much like Lex, and Jude, it is a true Canadian! It migrates thousands of miles across the United States just to reach Canada, and unfortunately, the species is in decline, according to studies. I have heard them in May, but only for a short period as they pass through to their northern breeding grounds.

As August ends, the fall migration is about to begin, so keep your ears open for these lovely birds as they being their annual shift south.

Enjoy the songs, and enjoy the background sound from now on. Hopefully it adds a nifty dimension to my nature-snooping entries.

Peace, love, and love to all.