The Bird Book/Thrushes, Solitaires, Bluebirds, etc

The Bird Book by Chester A. Reed
Thrushes, Solitaires, Bluebirds, etc: Family Turdidae


754. TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE. Myadestes townsendi.

Range. Western United States, breeding from Arizona, New Mexico and

southern California north to British Columbia.

This unique species is of a uniform brownish gray color, with a white eye ring, narrow bar on wing, and outer tail feathers, and with the bases of the primaries rusty colored. It is a ground inhabiting bird, feeding upon insects and berries in shrubbery and thickets. Their song is said to be liquid, melodious and often long continued, equalling that of any other bird. They nest on the ground in hollows under banks or crevices about roots of trees or fallen stumps, making a large, loosely constructed pile of weeds and trash, hollowed and lined with rootlets. The three or four eggs, which are laid in June, are grayish white,

spotted with pale brown, chiefly or most abundantly about the large end. Size

.96 x .70.

Grayish white

755. WOOD THRUSH. Hylocichla mustelina.

Range. Eastern United States, breeding from North Carolina and Kansas north to northern United States; winters south of our borders.

This Thrush with his brightly spotted breast is the most handsome of this group of musical birds. They are common in damp woods and thickets, in which places they breed, placing their nests of straw, leaves and grasses in low trees usually between four and ten feet from the ground; their nests are often very rustic, being ornamented by pieces of paper and twigs with dead leaves attached handing from the sides of the quite bulky structures. During May or June they lay three or four greenish blue eggs of about the shade of a Robin's. Size 1.05 x .70.

Greenish blue



756. VEERY. Hylocichla fuscescens fuscescens.

Range. Eastern North America, breeding in the northern half of its United States range and in the southern British Provinces.

The Veery is very abundantly distributed in woodland, either moist or dry, and nests on the ground or within a very few inches of it, usually placing its structures of woven bark strips and grasses, in the midst of a clump 01' sprouts or ferns. The three or four eggs which they lay in May or June are bluish green, much darker than those of the Wood Thrush, and nearly the color of those of the Catbird. Size .90 x .65.

756a. WILLOW THRUSH. Hylocichla fuscescens salicicola.

Range. Rocky Mountain region, north tQ British Columbia. V *

The nests and eggs of this similar bird dp not differ from those of the last.

Wood Thrusl

757. GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH. Hylocichla alicice alicice. ,,

Range. Breeds from Labrador to Alaska; winters south to Central America. The nesting habits and eggs of this species are very similar to those of the following sub-species and the same description will answer for both.

757. BICKNELL'S THRUSH. Hylocichla alicice bicknelli.

Range.--Breeds in the Catskills, White Mountatins and Nova Scotia.

These birds, which are practically identical with the preceding, build their nests at low elevations in trees, usually evergreens when present, making them of twigs, moss and rootlets, lined with fine grasses. The eggs, which are laid during May or June, are pale greenish blue, spotted and blotched with pale brown or russet. Size .88 x .64. Data. Seal Island, Nova Scotia, June 3, 1901. Nest of green Greenish blue moss and rootlets, in a spruce, 5 feet from the ground.

758. RUSSET-BACKED THRUSH. Hylocichla ustulata ustulata.

Range. Pacific coast, breeding in Oregon and Alaska; winters in Central America.

This species is very abundant in moist thickets throughout its range, nesting in bushes Wilson's Thrush and low trees, and making them of weed




stalks, bark strips, grasses and moss, lined with fine black rootlets. They are found ar elevations of from two to ten feet above the ground. Like the Wood Thrush the birds are tame while sitting on the nest and will allow a very close approach, without taking alarm; nests are frequently found which are made almost entirely out of green moss and are very handsome structures. Their three to five eggs are laid in May or June; they are greenish blue, spotted with brown of varying shades. Size .92 x .65. Data. Eureka, California, Greenish blue July 6, 1899. Nest in a fir tree, 5 feet from the ground; made of moss and strips of redwood bark. 4 eggs.

758a. OLIVE-BACKED THRUSH. Hylocichla


Gray -cheeked Thrush

Range.-Eastern North America, breeding Olive-backed Thrush

chiefly north of the United States, but. locally in the northern parts, and abundantly in mountain ranges.

The nesting habits and eggs of this eastern representative of the last species are like those of that bird in all respects and the eggs cannot be distinguished from those of ustulatus.

758b. OLIVE-BACKED THRUSH. Hylocichla cedica

Range. California and southern Oregon.

Nesting habits and eggs identical with those of ustulatus.

759. ALASKA HERMIT THRUSH. Hylocichla guttata guttata.

Range. Pacific coast from British Columbia to Alaska. Winters in Mexico. The Hermit Thrushes can readily be identified from any other by the reddish brown tail which is in marked contract to the color of the back. The nesting habits and eggs of this species are precisely like those of the eastern Hermit Thrush, which is a sub-species of this.

75Qa. AUDUBON'S HERMIT THRUSH. Hylocichla guttata auduboni.

Range. Rocky Mountain region of the United States. Winters in Central America.

The nesting habits of this bird are like those of the next except that it more frequently nests in bushes above the ground. The eggs are not distinctive.


75pb. HERMIT THRUSH. Hylocichla guttata pallasi.

Range. Eastern North America, breeding in northern United States and north to Labrador; winters in southern United States.

This species, which is noted for its weet and musical song, frequents damp swamps and thickets where it builds its nest either on the ground or near it, like that of the Wilson Thrush; it is made of shreds of bark, grasses, leaves and rootlets, lined with fine rootlets; the three or four eggs, which are deposited in May or June, are bluish green and cannot, with certainty, be distinguished from those of the Veery; size .85 x .65.

Bluish green

759c. DWARF HERMIT THRUSH. Hylocichla Hermit Thrush gut tat a nanus.

Range. Pacific coast of United States, from Washington, southward. The nesting habits and eggs of this slightly smaller and duller colored variety are like those of the other Hermit Thrushes.

[760.] RED-WINGED THRUSH. Turdus musicus.

Range. An Old World species, accidentally straying to Greenland. This common European bird nests at low elevations in bushes or trees, laying four or five bluish green eggs, spotted with reddish brown; size 1.05 x .75.

761. ROBIN. Planesticus migratorius


Range. North America east of the Rockies, breeding from the middle portions of the United States, north to the Arctic Ocean.

These common birds nest in trees about

houses, in orchards, open woods, in corners of

fences, on blinds on houses, and in fact al most every conceivable

^^ ^\ position. Their nests

jf ^k are made of grasses,

m& 2 firmly cemented togeth mj er with mud and lined f with finer grasses; N^H when placed in trees

they are generally firmGreenish blue ly saddled in crotches and may be found at any height, from on the ground to sixty feet above it. Their eggs are greenish blue; size 1.15 x .80. Eggs may be found at any time from May until July or August as they raise several broods a season. American Robin



76 Ib. SOUTHERN ROBIN. Planesticus migratorius achrusterus.

Range. The Carolinas and Georgia.

The eggs of this bird, which is said to be smaller and duller colored than the northern variety, show no differences in any respect.

76*2. SAN LUCAS ROBIN. Planesticus confinis.

Range. Southern Lower California.

This is a very much paler form of the American Robin; its eggs probably will not differ from those of the others.





763. VARIED THRUSH. Ixoreus ncevius ncevius.

Range. Pacific coast from northern California to Alaska; south to Mexico in winter.

These handsome birds breed abundantly in Alaska and locally in mountain ranges south to northern California. They nest at low elevations in trees, making them of moss, twigs, weeds and grasses, forming a flat shallow structure. Their eggs are greenish blue sharply but sparingly spotted with dark brown; size 1.12 x .80. Data. Delta Greenish blue

of Kowak River, Alaska, June 11, 1899. Four eggs. Nest 12 feet from the ground, against the trunk of a slender spruce and supported by a clump of stiff twigs.

763a. NORTHERN VARIED THRUSH. Ixoreus ncevius meruloides.

Range. Interior of western North America, breeding from British Columbia to Alaska. Its habits and eggs do not differ from those of the last.

[764]. SIBERIAN RED-SPOTTED BLUETHROAT. Cyanosy I via suecica robusta.

Range. Northern Asia; casually to Alaska.

This beautiful foreigner nests on the ground and lays four to six greenish blue eggs, spotted with reddish brown; size .75 x .50.

765. WHEATEAR. Saxicola cenanthe cenanthe.

Range. Asia; casual in Alaska in summer; nesting habits and eggs like the next.

765a. GREENLAND WHEATEAR. Saxicola cenanthe leucorhoa.

Range. Europe and Greenland ; casual on the Atlantic coast of North America.

This very abundant Old World species is a common breeding bird in Greenland and probably also in Labrador. They j nest in crevices of quarries, holes in the ground, or stone walls, making a rude nest of weeds, moss or^ grasses, lined with hair or feathers, and during May lay from four to six . . pale greenish blue eggs; size .90 x .60.




766. BLUEBIRD. Sialia sialis sialis.

Range. Eastern United States, breeding from the Gulf to southern Canada. Winters in the southern half of the United States.

These familiar birds build in cavities in trees, usually below 20 feet from the ground, crevices among ledges, bird boxes and in any suitable nook they may discover about buildings, providing that English Sparrows do not molest them. They raise several broods a year, commencing in

W April when they lay from three to six pale bluish white eggs (rarely pure white) ; size .80 x .60. The cavities of their nesting sites are lined Bluish white with grasses and feathers

usually, although I have found the eggs on the unlined bottom of cavities in trees.

766a. AZURE BLUEBIRD. Sialia sialis fulva.

Range. This pale variety is found in southern Arizona and southward.

Its nesting habits are the same and the eggs are indistinguishable from the last.


767. WESTERN BLUEBIRD. Sialia mexicana occidentalis.

Range. Pacific coast from Lower California to British Columbia.

The Western Bluebird is as common and familiar in its range as the common Bluebird is in the east. It nests in similar locations and its eggs are scarcely distinguishable, although averaging a trifle darker in shade; size .80 x .60.

767a. CHESTNUT-BACKED BLUEBIRD. Sialia mexicana bairdi.

Range. Rocky Mountain region from Mexico to Wyoming. The nesting habits or eggs of this brighter colored bird do not differ from those of the last species.

767b. SAN PEDRO BLUEBIRD. Sialia mexicana anabelce.

Range. San Pedro Martir Mountains in Lower California. The eggs of this variety will not in all probability be any different from those of the preceding Bluebirds.

768. MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD. Sialia currucoides.

Range. Rocky Mountatin region, breeding from New Mexico north to Great Slave Lake; winters in southwestern United States and Mexico.

This azure blue species is common in the greater part of its range and is found west to the Sierra Nevadas in California. Like the eastern Bluebird they nest in holes in trees or anywhere that they can find a suitable cavity or crevice. Their eggs are slightly larger than those of the other Bluebirds and have a slight.greenish tint; size .85 x .64.