Archive for January, 2023

Hermit Thrush – Grace Note on a Difficult Day

Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

This morning I tested positive for covid for the first time. I felt pretty rough with cough, congestion and other symptoms, so it wasn’t a surprise. The weather was darkly gray, cold, damp and felt miserable in every way. But in the middle of this dismal day there came one charmed and happy moment. 

Through an open window in the kitchen as I stood at the sink, I heard a soft, familiar chup among the other calls of birds nearby. And sure enough, after finding my binoculars and just a few moments of searching, I found a Hermit Thrush sitting on a low branch of an oak on the edge of the back yard. A gentle, pale-brown bird with dark spots on its throat and chest and a reddish tail that it lifted up and lowered slowly. It held its head erect, with the bill pointed slightly up, and it seemed to be looking back at me with a round, watchful eye, as I looked at it. 

It’s a bird I don’t see very often, though I know one has spent this winter so far in the shrubs around our house, coming out to forage in the mulch with sparrows and cardinals and towhees. A quiet, unobtrusive songbird, it has long been one of my favorites, so today it felt comforting to have this brief, sweet connection.