Daily Bird nesting season special: Wood Thrush
June 16, 2022
by Andy Rzeznikiewicz, Connecticut Audubon sanctuary manager. Videos and photo by Gilles Carter, Connecticut Audubon Board of Directors
Now is the perfect time to hear the beautiful, flute-like call of the Wood Thrush throughout — as its name would indicate — the woods of rural Connecticut. Listen in the early morning and evening along quiet roads or paths.
Follow the call and find the bird and you’ll see that it has a reddish-brown head, back, wings, and tail, and large white dark spots on a white breast and undersides. It has a thicker bill than other thrushes.
Wood Thrushes prefer deciduous forests with a shrub understory and a lot of leaf litter to hunt insects in. They are most easily found from early May through the first week of August when they are still singing. After that, they are very secretive and not easily observed through the end of September.
Look for them feeding in and along quiet wooded roads, particularly dirt roads. Veerys also behave this way, but they lack the prominent spots on the breast and aren’t as reddish-brown.
The dirt roads through Natchaug State Forest in Eastford and Needle’s Eye Road in Pomfret are good locations. The Connecticut DEEP’s Airline Trail through most of its length is another great location to spot one out in the open on the pathway. Similar types of locations throughout the state should produce observations.
If you happen to miss out on the Wood Thrush, look for Ovenbirds, Veerys, Black-and-white Warblers and American Redstarts. They are among the many forest birds that can be found in similar habitat. Also check the treetops for Scarlet Tanagers and Red-eyed Vireos.
The Wood Thrush is still fairly widespread ad common in Connecticut, although it population has fallen by more than 70 percent over the last 50 years.