Swainson's Thrush

The subtle coloring of the Swainson's thrush lets this songbird blend into its surroundings.

By: Jerry Poindexter
Photography by Dave and Steve Maslowski

Swainson’s thrush (Catharus ustulatus) measures between 61/2 and 71/2 inches in length and is distinguished from other thrushes by a conspicuous eye ring. It has more heavily wedge-shaped spots on its breast than the veery and lacks the reddish brown tail of the hermit thrush. The Swainson’s thrush builds its nest of various materials in trees; however, it is seen more often along the ground in dense undergrowth. It ranges from Alaska, across Canada, and to the northern United States. The Western varieties are more reddish brown and the Eastern thrushes have more olive brown on the upper parts.

The reference for the pattern and painting notes are from study skins provided by Eastern Washington University.

The Swainson’s thrush will be the “Best of the Northwest” species at the Columbia Flyway show in Vancouver, Washington, in September.

Read the rest of this article in Wildfowl Carving Magazine’s Summer 2014 issue!


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