Voice of the Northwest
Birds & Blooms|December 2020/January 2021
A haunting call and fancy feathers make this thrush stand out.
SALLY ROTH

When looking for words to best describe the varied thrush, the phrase dramatically beautiful certainly comes to mind. About the size and shape of the American robin, this fancy thrush sports a bold black band that resembles a necklace on its rich orange breast that contrasts with a blue-gray back, orange wing bars, and a wide black stripe across its eye. Females are similar but paler.

Seeing this species is a treat since varied thrushes are “not the kind of bird to sit out in the open,” says Maeve Sowles, president of the Lane County Audubon Society in Oregon. “You hear them more than you see them.”

These particular thrushes live year-round in the wet forests of the mild Pacific Coast—all the way from southeastern Alaska to Northern California. Females lay one to six sky blue eggs, sometimes speckled, in a woven cup that’s often decorated with moss.

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