Every spring I swear I hear a wood thrush singing for one or two mornings, and then all I hear are hermit thrushes. So, I convince myself that the wood thrush was really a hermit thrush, perhaps rusty as it started singing for the new season. Well, this morning as I was coming down the walkway to work, I heard the lovely flutey music that could only be a wood thrush. I spent some time listening to it, trying to garner any small detail that I could so I could verify it inside with a recording. What stood out was the stuttering start to the ee-o-layyy. I rushed inside to the Thayer's Birding Software and queued up the wood thrush. There it was, the stuttering start (reminded me of the old Chia Pet ad: "ch-ch-ch-Chia") followed by that sweet sweet song. It's nice to know that all these years I was right: wood thrushes sing here before the hermits.
But that then brings the ponderable: what happens to them? Do they move on to better habitats, leaving just the hermits behind? I know that wood thrushes are in dire straits these last few years - populations in serious decline, mostly due to loss of habitat. They like woodlands near fields for nesting (I monitored a nest one year for Cornell's Lab of Orthinology's Citizen Science program), but their wintering grounds are under "attack" as well.
The world will be a sadder and quieter place without the song of the wood thrush.