Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Hermit Thrush

I took this photo of one of the Hermit Thrushes I banded this spring to show off some of its field marks. A little creative Photoshopping erased my hand. Two things to consider first. The Hermit Thrush is the only thrush expected in the Upper Midwest in April—it is an early migrant, usually seen before the other thrushes arrive. Next, the Hermit Thrush habitually bobs its tail up and down.

The distinct spots on the breast might tempt you to call this a Wood Thrush. But Wood Thrushes are larger birds that have reddish heads, brighter than their backs and tails. The Hermit thrush only has a reddish tail. Veerys are uniformly reddish above. Finally some observers might say this is a Swainson’s Thrush, because of the tan eye-ring. Swainson’s Thrushes do have a tan eye-ring, but lack any rufous color anywhere on their head, back, or tail.

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