Friday, October 14, 2011

Wood Thrush

I banded and released this Wood Thrush on 11 October 2011. This date approaches the late dates for this species in Minnesota (Janssen, Birds in Minnesota). I have written about the beautiful Wood Thrush song on 13 May 2010 and, on 28 September 2010, about this species' declining populations. When you see a black background on my photographs, the reason is often that the photo was taken at dawn or dusk. The camera's flash highlights the bird, but leaves the background dark.

Our warm, dry fall may have induced this individual to linger. Note the pale-tan spots on this bird's wing coverts. These are feathers that the bird retained from its junvenal plumage. This pattern is typical for most thrushes (although some individuals go through a complete molt). These junvenal feathers are even present on some spring birds. When present, these feathers indicate that you are seeing a first-year bird in the fall and a second year one in the spring. (Banders celebrate all birds' birthdays on the first of the year.)

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