The Wood Thrush Sings

“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.” ~Henry David Thoreau

This year, a wood thrush has come to live in our woods. I knew its song immediately, the distinctive two part harmony it sings through its Y-shaped syrinx (voice box). It is an elusive woodland bird that is related to the robin (and sometimes called a wood robin), but seldom seen – I have yet to spot him. His song goes on each day from pre-dawn to early evening and accompanies my every move in the garden, a lovely soundtrack to my days. Here is a clip of his song that I captured a few mornings ago. 

Mulberry tree

Mulberry tree

June is the month of roses and clematis, bringing a new set of colors to the garden. The mulberry tree that hangs over the garden fence is overflowing with berries, a feast attracting the birds and littering the gravel paths. A giant kousa dogwood at the driveway entrance has been spectacular, a long column of white blossoms that is only now beginning to fade to green. Once again our temperatures vary drastically from cool to hot and back again, punctuated by wild thunderstorms, unusual weather for June.  But the garden is lush and full from the heat and rain; here are a few images of June’s bloom. Click on any photo to start the slide viewer – enjoy!  (All photos ©2015 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved)

It is the perfection of music when heard in its place and season… the note of the wood-robin is the spontaneous voice of Nature, devoid of artifice, clear as a bell.” ~T. Chalkley Palmer

To learn more about the wood thrush, visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology or Friends of Glen Providence Park.

35 thoughts on “The Wood Thrush Sings

  1. Pingback: Deep Summer | composerinthegarden

  2. That soundtrack is indeed beautiful. Seems to be significantly different from that of the robin. And what lovely flowers!

    Do we see how blessed you are to be living in the moment in such an environment ?


    • Shakti, thank you for stopping by and commenting. Yes, it is interesting to hear such a difference of songs between two related birds; the robins are not shy at all but I still haven’t seen the wood thrush. I am indeed blessed to live in such an environment; it restores me every day.

  3. Just beautiful. Learning about birds is a new hobby that arose directly from planting and designing a garden. We have since attracted so many species and learning about them is a new adventure. Thank you for the resources. I really enjoy your photos, sound effects and reflections!

    • MIchele, thank you for stopping by. When we moved here, there were very few birds, in spite of the woods surrounding the house. It was mostly well-tended lawn and woods. As soon as I began the garden and added layers to support wildlife, the birds came (and the butterflies and dragonflies). Every year we seem to attract a few new ones, which is a great joy. Enjoy your new adventure!

  4. Good morning! I was wondering if you would be interested in a guest blogging opportunity with Gardening Know How? If so, please e-mail me for more details! Thanks and hope to hear from you soon!

  5. What a beautiful birdsong! Thanks so much for sharing the recording. I know about mulberry trees, the birds love the fruit – but what a mess. Our kids used to climb mulberries that grew along the alley behind the building we lived in, then returned covered in big purple splotches.

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Jason. Yes, the mulberry tree is VERY messy, but the birds love it and I enjoy their show. I just don’t walk on that part of the path until the berries are done falling, otherwise I would be tracking purple everywhere.

  6. What a lovely song! I’ve heard them here, but didn’t know what they were. I’ll keep an ear out next time I’m in the garden. Your collection of images are, as always, beautiful. 🙂

    • Thanks, Robin. I’ve only heard them in the distance before this year, but SO delighted that at least one took up residence in the woods behind our house. Their song is so distinctive; maybe you’ll be able to get a photo of one, you have a real gift for that.

  7. Eternal morning! Full of hope and promise. The bird the garden in June blessed by the Wood Thrsh thank you for a lovely tour.
    Amazing what water, soil and warmth can bring forth.
    Happy June.

    • Thank you, Carol, and you are welcome to the tour! The garden is burgeoning with current conditions (high temps, lots of rain) and the growth is a little askew from a normal June, but these days I am accepting the wild shifts in weather as the new normal. The garden seems happy, so I am too 🙂

  8. It is a delightful sound, and with those sights to go with it truly food for the soul. I wonder if they also mimic, like the robin? I once had a robin in the garden that I got to copy several bars of the ‘Woody Woodpecker’ song. That appealed to my sense of humour.

    • Oh colonialist, what an amazing thought! I haven’t tried to “train” the wood thrush but they are said to be somewhat imitative. Perhaps this is something to aspire to! I shall definitely take it under consideration and see if I can evoke a new song from this amazing creature.

  9. Beautiful post, very immersive. I still remember my first summer in suburban New Jersey, when my mother and I noticed a new, enchanting song in the woods across from the house, every evening. We did finally find it, and ever since, I like to cup my hands around my ears to get the full effect! Thanks for all this June joyfulness! I hope you’re well and busy, but not TOO busy.

    • Lynn, it is always wonderful to know that someone else has heard this lovely song. I am busy, we are doing a total reno on our kitchen, very distracting, but it is almost complete and I can dive into the garden soon without any further distractions 🙂

  10. Another beautiful assortment of floral images, Lynn. I enjoyed the slideshow best when I initiated the wood thrush audio and let it play in the background while I browsed through the photos, creating a multimedia experience that at least hints at what must be the wondrous experience of actually being in your garden.

    • Kerry, I didn’t even think of that but what a great idea! So, everyone, play the bird song and view the images!!!!! Really, this is my experience in the garden, as you supposed, Kerry. What an experience, a concert of birdsong each and every day – the ultimate reward of the gardener!

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