Monday, February 18, 2013

New Bird Sighting! Hermit Thrush

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Last week, the girls and I noticed a new feathered visitor to our tray feeder. It looked a little similar to a brown thrasher, except the eyes, tail, and size were different. We researched the bird in our bird books, hoping for a firm identification, but the closest we could surmise was the fox sparrow. Too bad our friend didn't sport the grey areas on its head, like a fox sparrow does. So our mystery guest remained a mystery.

So I was delighted when I opened an email from Audubon about the Great Backyard Bird Count, and there it was! A photo of our bird AND a positive i.d. It's a hermit thrush!

The photo above really doesn't do Catharus guttatus justice. Its back feathers are a lovely reddish brown (think auburn), and the white ring around its round, dark eye is particularly vivid. Smaller than a robin and larger that most of the songbirds that dine here, hermit thrushes are in our area in the winter only, like dark-eyed juncos.

We are always excited to identify a new bird variety!

Don't let this year's GBBC (Great Backyard Bird Count) slip by without joining in! Today's the last day. And you can count for as little as 15 minutes. Yesterday, I counted for that length of time while I worked at my computer in the study. I face a picture window that overlooks my back yard -- and feeders!

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