Hermit Thrush

Hermit Thrush
Inge Curtis

I love the thrush family. Friends of gardeners, they are wonderful songsters too. Many family members have bold spots on their breasts to help identification, along with a rufous tail in the Hermit Thrush.

Like last week’s kinglets, this bird probably arrived recently for wintering here. We sometimes see them in the garden, turning leaves for worms and insects, but skulking under trees and shrubbery they often go unnoticed.

I am more familiar with this thrush in spring and summer in the Allegheny Mountains where they nest on the ground. We hear them call chup in the woods and at the end of the day they sing like a melancholy flute.  

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Photo: Inge Curtis

These tiny birds look like cute Christmas tree decorations. Inge photographed this male and female who probably arrived recently in Virginia as winter residents or transients. Ruby-crowned Kinglets breed in the north and west where they announce their territory with a remarkably loud song for a petite bird. The male on the left has a red stripe on his crown which he hasn’t elevated.