[Tweeters] Hermit thrush in my yard?

Emily Birchman stollea at gmail.com
Sun Nov 30 13:36:31 PST 2014

Hello all,

I just saw a bird in my backyard that I think may have been a hermit
thrush, and I am frankly shocked because I do not think I have ever heard
one sing, let alone see one!
I'm writing this to see what else I should check it against?

My initial gut reaction when I saw its shape was to assume it was a
sparrow, but on the large side for a sparrow. I then got the binoculars and
checked it out and thought it looked like a Swainson's thrush (a species I
have seen before), which I assume would be crazy at this time of year as my
understanding is that they migrate, so I got out the Sibley guide and when
I saw the picture of the hermit thrush it really does seem to match
(definitely more closely than with Swainson's). Also I see that they are
listed as the only thrush likely to be found here in Nov-March.
The bird had a clear white eye ring and a rufous tail that contrasted with
its brown back. It had dark spotting on its breast - my impression was
maybe less spotting than I see in the Sibley illustration, but definitely
dark spots near the top of the breast. It landed on the ground and was
flicking its wings and tail as it poked around for a minute or so, before
taking off. Like I said, I didn't get to compare it to any other birds as
it was by itself, but I would say it was a little larger than a song
sparrow, but definitely smaller than a robin.

I looked through all the sparrows and did not see anything that fit.
Any other thoughts on what else it could have been?

I'm not an expert when it comes to birding so I welcome any other
suggestions of what this might have been. I just did not expect to see this
bird in my yard, so I am having a hard time believing that's what it was!

Emily Birchman, Kenmore, WA
stollea at gmail.com
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