Wood Thrush

Hey guys, welcome back! Today is a bird that most birders will agree has one of the coolest songs, the wood thrush. Not the first brown and spotted thrush we’ve done (and it won’t be the last either), the wood thrush differs in that it is heavily spotted all the way down it’s belly as opposed to others like the hermit thrush whose spots fade away much further up. They are a rich, bright brown above. Their song is a three part song with the third part being a really cool sounding trilling. They can do this because of the way their voicebox is shaped. Basically, it’s in the shape of a “Y” and therefore allows them to sing two different (and harmonizing) notes at the same time!

Although common throughout the eastern US, their numbers are declining rapidly. Though it’s not known exactly why, some factors may include brown-headed cowbirds laying their eggs in wood thrush nests. Unlike some birds, the wood thrush can’t recognize the cowbird eggs. Additionally, like many thrushes, the wood thrush forages on the ground in the leaf litter of the forest floor. They need lots of calcium to produce their eggs, a nutrient that is harder to come by in places that get more acidic rainfalls.

One interesting thing about the wood thrush is the way they divide up parenting. It’s the male that does most of the feeding, so the female can go get knocked up by a different male and lay another clutch of eggs. The husband and wife duo will then divide the kids and raise them separately in different parts of their territory. Nearly half of the young a male helps raise aren’t biologically his. They seem to all be cool with this arrangement though, so I don’t think we’ll be seeing a wood thrush episode of Maury anytime soon lol. And with that, we have another one in the books. Next week a bird that looks (and acts) very similarly to a thrush, but is in fact a warbler! See you then!

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