nothin’ common about the common thrush

In June 1853, Thoreau wrote of an enchanting encounter with the Wood Thrush: “This is the only bird whose note affects me like music. It lifts and exhilarates me. It is inspiring. It changes all hours to an eternal morning.”


Hear! Hear! David Thoreau’s poignant prose about the elusive common thrush resonates with anyone who hears the morning trill of this beautiful bird with its bright orange breast.  The common thrush is also called the Varied Thrush. The website has a page on the varied thrush including a sample of its melodious morning trill.

We are fortunate in having at least one common thrush pair nesting in our immediate area.  The robust orange-breasted male arrived first.  Later we saw the more subdued attired female perched warily at our birdfeeder. Needless to say, we were excited as their arrival gives promise to many happy birdsong mornings.

There is nothing as stepping out onto our deck with a cup of coffee on our Setter Lake spring and summer mornings listening to the trill of the common thrush with the chorus of black-eyed junkos accompanied by the staccato drumming of our resident red-necked woodpecker.

The common thrush is a boreal woodland resident. As such they have been a recurring theme of our Prince of Wales Island springs.  The Audubon website describes their environment as

Thick, wet forest, conifers; in winter, woods, ravines, thickets. Breeds in coniferous forest of various types, but most common in dense, wet forest near the coast, in areas of fir, hemlock, and spruce with dense understory. In migration and winter favors coniferous woods but also occurs in undergrowth of other woods, especially near streams.


As long as we are here, they have a home as we nurture our little woodland refuge.  They are especially welcome as they are ground foragers with a diet of insects and other invertebrates like snails, earthworms, and hopefully slugs.

For the longest time we have been one of less than a handful of residents along Setter Lake. Recently several of the lakeside lots have gone on the market; we fervently hope all new owners have the same respect and love for our woodland neighbors that we have. (if interested in viewing the lots, please contact Dennis Sylvia at Cell/Msg:  1.775.420.1688 or 1.907.965.5004)  It is truly an enchanting experience to enjoy our dwindling old growth forests from so close.

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