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Swainson's Thrush

I have always enjoyed birdwatching, but over the past couple years or so I have taken a strong interest in bird identification. I am learning to catch the smallest of details, like a stripe across the eye, bands on the wing tips, details of the belly,  the color of the top of the head… and sometimes all you get is a fleeting moment when a tiny bird is close enough to observe in that way.

And then there are all the sounds of each bird. There are certain bird songs that I have heard all my life, but have never been able to match the song to the bird. One of the most remarkable and unusual songs I can think of comes from the Swainson’s Thrush, and it may have been what sparked this interest of mine in the first place. It was really exciting to finally know who belts out this song every evening in the spring and summer. I have long associated this bird’s song to endless summer days, warm evenings spent on the lake, far out camping spots in lush green locations, and a feeling of total awe for nature. I am super happy to say that our Swainson’s Thrush is back for the season – tonight marking the first night of their return! Steven and I both stopped in our tracks at the sound of them, and smiled with excitement. I LOVE to start the evening to the ethereal sound of this birds whirling song, as all the daytime creatures gather themselves up for the night.

Here is a sound byte:

And here is a really great list of many kinds of birds, with short sound tracks of each:

And here is one of the best identification lists I have seen for smaller birds:

What kind of birds are making their way back to your area this season? If anyone has any great links for identifying birds, I would love to see!

0 Responses

  1. Valerie

    very soothing (to my opinion) Abby !
    my favorite and the ones i easily recognize is the swallow song in the evening, just before sunset. we have two nests hidden between the roof & the attic lower level… when i hear them i know the nice season has started…

  2. DK

    We’ve had Northern Flickers, a pair of doves I can’t identify just yet, sparrows and other small birds, and a pair of Starlings in a nest outside our kitchen window. There’s also chubby Robins all over the yard.

  3. margie oomen

    I just use the peterson guides for bird identification.
    We have cardinals, golden finches, chickadees, blue jays, crows, red tailed hawks, starlings, cow birds, grosbeaks, downy wood peckers, nut hatches, sparrows , robins, orioles and a bird whose call I am not familiar with singing high from the tree tops that I have yet to catch view of.

  4. Steph


    Thank you so much for posting the birdsongs, I’ve been trying to identify what turns out to be a veery. It’s been a mystery to me for years! It’s my favorite birdsong, I’ve always called them “magic birds”.

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