Bird of the Week, December 16, 2011
Varied Thrush

Varied Thrush by Ashok Khosla


The Varied Thrush is shy and elusive on its breeding grounds in the deep forests of the Pacific Northwest, where its haunting song is heard more than the bird itself is seen. It feeds on ground-dwelling arthropods, insects, fruits, and berries. In winter, it can also be seen in parks and gardens, where it sometimes associates with American Robins.


Data from Breeding Bird Surveys and Christmas Bird Counts show that Varied Thrush numbers have significantly decreased over the last 40 years, possibly as a result of loss of the mature or old-growth forests on which it depends.  Its nests are predated by squirrels and Gray and Steller’s Jays. In winter, when Varied Thrushes move downslope and into more rural and residential areas, window collisions, severe winter weather, and feral cats can be significant mortality factors.


The Varied Thrush may benefit from Critical Habitat set aside in mature forest for the endangered Northern Spotted Owl and Marbled Murrelet.



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Photo: Ashok Khosla; Range Map, ABC