Thursday, December 9, 2010
Varied Thrush In Cathedral Grove
We recently had a wonderful experience with a pair of Varied Thrushes in Cathedral Grove. The male Thrush had moss in his beak and was likely on his way to the nest. The Varied Thrush is a strikingly handsome forest bird and known to be extremely shy, so we and our guests were delighted to good views while we listened to its most fascinating melancholic, eerie song.
Varied Thrush are smaller than an American Robin and there is a black breast band and facemask, orange underparts with, dark gray upperparts, orange wing bars and orange stripe extends rearward from eye. Female and juvenile birds are browner above and the orange is more subdued. The breast band and facemask are a blotchy brown.
Cathedral Grove Forest is important breeding habitat for the Varied Thrush because this thrush nests in dense coniferous forest. Two to five eggs are laid in a tree nest.
The diet of the Varied Thrush changes from season to season. When breeding, it mainly searches the forest floor for arthropods and other invertebrates, which it often locates by using its bill to flip leaf litter into the air. They will also take a variety of prey, including worms, caterpillars and insects. In winter, its diet becomes especially dependant upon fruits and berries, but also upon seeds.