Swainson’s Thrush

Swainson’s Thrush, Catharus ustulatus

One of the things I most look forward to each spring is the arrival of the year’s first Swainson’s thrush. They announce their presence through, first, their calls, then a bit later the males will start to sing: usually in the late dusk, long after most other birds have gone to roost for the evening. They are shy and secretive birds that prefer dense thickets of deciduous brush and mature trees. We are fortunate to have them in our yard, and it seems the past couple of years there are more of them.

Once you learn the clear whistling “whit” of their calls, and the entrancing flutelike song, you’ll never forget them.

Swainson’s Thrush, call

Swainson’s Thrush, song

Photo by Matt Reinbold // CC licensed // Recordings by Tayler Brooks