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When Swainson’s Thrushes first return to nest in the woods of the West, or the northern states and Canada, they announce their presence with subtle calls—limpid whit or wink sounds. About a week later, generally at dusk, they break into full song.
Many rate the Swainson’s Thrush among the finest singers. And two of its closest contenders for musical elegance are also close cousins: the Veery and the Hermit Thrush. All three are small, brown birds, but their songs, each reedy or flute-like, clearly distinguish them.
While a Swainson’s Thrush song spirals upward, a Veery’s phrases tend downward in pitch. The Hermit Thrush sings ethereal, paired phrases, long, flute-like notes backed by complex, reedy phrases.
Each is worthy of a long, silent pause in the woods. The Swainson’s Thrush . . . the Veery . . . the Hermit Thrush.
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Bird audio provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Swainson’s Thrush call and song recorded by G.A. Keller. Veery song recorded by W.W.H. Gunn. Hermit Thrush song recorded by T.G. Sander.
Theme music composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
Written by Bob Sundstrom
© 2013 Tune In to Nature.org May 2013 Narrator: Michael Stein