16 December 2012

Seeing the Hermit

Sometimes, hermits come for a visit.

Each of the last few days, I've seen a thrush-like bird. It's brown and lacks any particularly obvious markings. Birds like that can be hard to tell apart. However, knowing it looked like a thrush helped.

I was pretty sure the bird was not a Swainson's thrush because I vaguely remembered that they leave during the winter. With that information in mind, I guessed the bird was a hermit thrush.

After checking All About Birds and WhatBird last night, I found that my memory was correct. Swainson's thrushes move south in the winter, and the hermit thrush is the only member of the thrush family that looks like the bird I saw and lives in the Pacific Northwest this time of year.

Last night's investigation left one thing to do: wait for the bird to come back so I could confirm the species. Sure enough, it came back today, and I was able to get pictures (not the one above) that provided enough evidence to show it was a hermit thrush.

It was exciting to realize I had accumulated enough birding knowledge to make such a guess about a rather plain bird. I'm glad it decided to stop by and give me a chance to get to know it.

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