This is the third sighting we have had of this lovely singer in the yard in the past two years, but the only time we have spotted it on the front lawn — this time, perfectly posed on the pyracantha coccinea (an evergreen shrub known rather poetically as Scarlet Firethorn). The warm yellow you see in the backyard is actually the neighbor’s weeping alder. When insects become scarce in the fall, the Hermit Thrush, like many other songbirds, turns to berries like these as its primary food source–which can offer some amazing photo opportunities if one’s timing is right!
Hermit Thrush on the brimming-with-berries Scarlet Firethorn (pyracantha coccinea)
f/6.3, 1/400, 500mm, ISO 400
This chubby, nondescript number–which brings to mind a smaller American Robin–didn’t seem the least bit fazed to be photographed. It rightfully deserves the label of “little brown job”–but its drab appearance belies an amazing set of chops; indeed, extensive research into its song revealed to be more like human music than any other birdsong! Taken from 20 feet away–this was my second attempt to photograph it in just a few minutes; the first time I went outside and shoot it, it had already darted in the California Lilac bush, but came back just a few moments later. So thrilled to see this bold little berry eater. To date, my closest encounter with this thrush! Learn more about the Hermit Thrush by visiting its Cornell Lab of Ornithology allaboutbirds.org profile or read the article that discusses the uncannily human musical genius of this bird.
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