Bird Identification – Wilson’s Thrush

The veery, as the Wilson’s thrush is called in New England, is far more common there than the wood thrush, whose range is more southerly. During its spring and fall migrations only is it at all common about the elms and maples that men have planted. Take a good look at its tawny coat and lightly spotted cream buff breast before it goes away to hide. Like Kipling’s “cat that walked by himself,” the veery prefers the “wild, wet woods,” and there its ringing, weird, whistling monotone, that is so melodious without being a melody, seems to come from you can’t guess where. The singer keeps hidden in the dense, dark undergrowth. It is as if two voices, an alto and a soprano, were singing at the same time: Whee-you, whee-you:—the familiar notes might come from a scythe being sharpened on a whetstone, were the sound less musical than it is. The bird is too wise to sing very near its well-hidden nest, which is placed either directly on the damp ground or not far above it, and usually near water. Throughout its life the veery seems to show a distrust of us that, try as we may, few have ever overcome.

If you have thought that the thrush-like, cinnamon brown, speckle-breasted bird, with a long twitching tail like a catbird’s, and a song as fine as a catbird’s best, would be mentioned among the robin’s relations, you must guess again, for he is the brown thrasher, not a thrush at all. You will find him in the Group of Lively Singers.