Monday, October 06, 2008

Wood Thrush

It's early October before the first frost. The wood thrushes, which are one of the most common woodland birds of the eastern US, will soon be on their way to Panama if they have not already started. Because there has not been a frost yet the woodland scene is still green with ferns even as the maples turn golden and red. I have recently seen Indian Pipes, an interesting white plant with no chlorophyll. They are a rare sight found in the moist, dark undergrowth of the forest. In this painting, a wood thrush searches the forest floor for insects on a warm day in early autumn as Indian Pipes bloom nearby.
Here are some interesting facts about this bird:
This is a large thrush just a bit smaller than the American Robin.
It has a beautiful haunting yodeling song that rings through the woodlands with a flutelike sound. In fact, their vocal song box allows them to sing more than one note at once making it possible for them to harmonize with their own song! This is perhaps the reason the song is so hauntingly lovely.
This bird is seldom seen outside the deep woods. I do not see them much, but I hear their song at times coming from the woodlands surrounding my home.
Sadly, their populations are declining possibly due to deforestation in their winter habitat in Central America.
Cowbirds often lay eggs in wood thrushes nests which also keeps their population down as the baby cowbirds will sometimes push the thrushlings out of the nest.
Wood thrushes have been seen to practice "anting" which means they pick up an ant and rub it on their feathers. It is guessed that the ants secrete an oil that is useful for the birds.
  • This painting has been sold.

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