Hermit Thrush in Southern Utah


"A Song To Remember"

Hermit Thrush

hermit thrush         This has been a great winter in southern Utah, for we have huge flocks of Robins, feeding in Pyracantha bushes and trees. If you see a Robin, donít assume that the bird on the ground, that looks, holds his tail and head in the same manner as a Robin, is one. It could be a Hermit Thrush. The Hermit Thrush, though smaller, flicks its tail and wings nervously, where Robins assume a statue position.

         Hermit Thrushes are considered by many, including me, to have one of the most beautiful songs. Their song is slow, loud, and has repetitive phrases which spiral down, echoing throughout the forest. They are gray-brown above, have distinctive spots on the breast, a reddish brown tail, and a complete white eye-ring.

         The Hermit Thrush is the only Thrush normally seen in North America in winter. They generally live in the mixed woods and coniferous forests, but snow moves them to warmer climates and they settle for local parks. They hunt for food along the ground, preferring heavy cover. While they forage, they take upright positions just like Robins. So, the next time you see a Robin without the red on the breast, take a closer look, for it may be one of those secretive Hermit Thrushes.

         So many times the Hermit Thrush is heard and not seen. My first encounter was its song at Lava Point Lookout in Zion National Park. My first visual was on a trail on Pinevalley Mountain. This time I saw the bird, the spots, the red tail, and heard it singing its heart out. Memories like these are something to look forward to, and never forgotten. I hope you have lots and lots of memories like these.

         Once again we want to thank Brenda Rusnell for sharing her artistic talents with us, so we can view the seldom seen Hermit Thrush. Marilyn Davis is a member of the Red Cliffs Audubon. For more information about birds, Audubon Meetings, or Field trips, call 435 673-0996.