The wood thrush is widely recognized as having the most beautiful song of any North American bird. If you have ever heard the flute-like song of the wood thrush wafting through the leaves of a hardwood forest, it is hard to imagine the song of any other bird is more beautiful.
In 1853, the famous early American naturalist and writer Henry David Thoreau wrote, “This is the only bird whose note affects me like music. It lifts and exhilarates me. It is inspiring. It changes all hours to an eternal morning.”
As Thoreau enjoyed the exquisite song of the songbird countless times during this lifetime, what he did not know is that, in many cases, he was probably listening to a one-bird duet. Let me explain.
The wood thrush has a syrinx (voice box) that is far different from that of a human. Since it is Y-shaped and equipped with two membranes that rapidly that vibrate to produce the wood thrush’s songs, the wood thrush can sing two songs at the same time.
While most people are familiar with the bird’s ee-o-lay notes, the male wood thrush is capable of singing more than 50 different songs.
This spring my wife and I have enjoyed listening to wood thrush songs vocalized in and near our backyard for weeks on end. We hear them most often early and late in the day. We also hear them less often throughout the day. As I write this blog on the first day of summer, we are hoping that this special songster will serenade us with its repertoire of songs for some time to come.
If you are not familiar with the song of the wood thrush, I urge you to visit the Cornell University, Laboratory of Ornithology website and listen to a recording of it. Believe me it is something you will not forget.
If you are interested in trying to attract a wood thrush to your yard in the spring, go to the Search bubble on this website and type in: Attracting the wood thrush to your backyard in spring. The blog should immediately pop into view.