Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Bird to Watch For: Wood Thrush

I have to admit that I'm on a steep learning curve when it comes to bird identification.  My repertoire is limited to a few species, including crows, cardinals, and blue jays (which, despite their brilliant hue, are considered by some to be the ornithological equivalent to pigweed).  But the garden can provide opportunities to expand my knowledge.  I became intrigued when I learned that Steve and Joe, another gardener, reported to have heard a wood thrush.

A wood thrush is about 7-8 inches long and has a brown back and white chest with dark brown spots.  They tend to feed on the ground but sing when up in trees.  It's ethereal sound is difficult to describe, with melodic rising and falling notes often followed by a rapid trill.  This call had a profound effect on Henry David Thoreau, who once wrote, "The thrush alone declares the immortal wealth and vigor that is in the forest.  Whenever a man hears it, he is young, and Nature is in her spring."

I've had them pointed out to me while visiting conservation land near the White Mountains in New Hampshire; they generally need large areas of forest for their habitat.  But since the garden borders land designated as an urban wild and is located about two blocks away from Franklin Park (where a wood thrush was recently sighted) hearing one around dusk should not come as a complete surprise.  Next time I'm in the garden, I'll keep my ears open and eyes on the trees.


Polyphony said...

Hi, Sally! I'm a neighbor on Rossmore Road. I'd like to speak with someone about the composting program, if any, in the garden. Can you recommend a contact person? Thanks!

Sally said...

I guess you would start by contacting the Steering Committee. I'm not sure if you know any of them (they are pictured in a post from last week), or if I can publish the email address, but there is going to be a work evening around 6:00 on 7/23 so come on over and talk to the member who's overseeing it.
I'll check with the committee as well, but my understanding is that the compost area is only for non-invasive plant matter and that only plot holders have access to it. There is no composting of food scraps.
Thanks for the visiting the blog! Good luck.

Giulietta said...

Hi Sallee,

I should like to hear the ethereal sound of the Wood Thrush in order to keep myself eternally young.

Interesting that blue jays fall in the bird weed category. Any hummingbirds?

My web site address if you want to check out the newsletter. Can send back issues.


Bryan said...

I wrote a long comment last night and it disappeared.