Description 9 - 10" Similar to American Robin. Slate gray upperparts; rusty orange throat and breast
interrupted by broad slate-colored or black breast band; 2 orange wing bars; off-white belly.
The female is similar, but paler; breast band gray or absent. Young bird's breast band incomplete, frequently with
orange and dusky speckles. Flight more undulating than American Robin's.
The juvenile's throat and breast are orange; feathers tipped with olive, giving a scaly appearance. The breast band is
Habitat Dense coniferous or deciduous forests with abundant water. Generally a shy bird, fading away into the
dense understory at any sign of an intruder. Loves the deep shade of the forest and also dense fog and rainy
weather. When the heavy snow drives this bird from its favorite haunts, it migrates south as far as Costa Rica for the
Diet Beetles, ants, bees, wasps, flies, caterpillars, grasshoppers, crickets, some spiders, myriapods, snails,
sowbugs, and earthworms. In the early fall feeds mostly on acorns, weed seeds, snowberries, juniper berries,
blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, buckthorn, poison oak, and pepperberries.
Nesting The male Varied Thrush sings to defend his territory. The song is most often heard at dawn, dusk, and
after a rain shower. The female builds the nest in a conifer at the base of a branch against the trunk, usually 5-15
feet off the ground. The nest is a bulky, open cup made of twigs, moss, leaves, and pieces of bark, lined with soft
grass and rootlets.
The female lays 3-4 pale blue eggs, that are smooth, glossy, and are sparingly dotted with brown. The female
incubates the eggs for about 14 days. The male is always present in the vicinity and may possibly feed the female
on the nest. The female broods the nestlings for a few days after they hatch. Both parents feed the young. They raise
two broods in a season when possible.
Range Found largely along the Pacific Coast, from Alaska and Yukon south to Oregon, California, Idaho, and
Montana. Winters from coastal Alaska southward. It is typically a western resident but has been found occasionally
in the New England states.
In winter it migrates to lowlands or flies south to California parks, habitats it shares with robins. When the heavy
snow drives this bird from its favorite haunts, it migrates south as far as Costa Rica for the winter.
Voice Song 2 or 3 buzzy whistles, each drawn out until it fades away, followed by a short silence. Call a low took.
Thrushes also give a "whisper song," or a softer, quieter version of their primary song. This may serve as an attempt
to disguise their location, making it seem as though they are farther away than they are. During May and June this
bird is heard at its best; its song carries long distances through the forest.
Discussion The Varied Thrush is similar in behavior to the American Robin, but more elusive. Much of its
foraging is done on the ground, usually in dense cover, although sometimes it forages on open lawns and roads.
A variety of names has been given to this bird. The names as suggested are Alaska robin, Oregon robin, Mountain
robin, but the true name is varied thrush.
They are very
over the edge
of the driveway
jumping up and
|Male perched in the tree and the female on the
|They feed on the ground happily among the Juncos.