The Robin in my backyard,
same Robin scolding 61kB.
Long Island, May 1996
"... the golden, leisurely chiming of the wood thrushes, chanting their vespers" Roosevelt
Artnote: The Wood Thrush song has been used with great effectiveness in Peter Schickele's "American Dreams" Quartet: III. Music at Dawn.
Attention Wood Thrush fans! Check out the article by Robert Winkler in the New York Times for July 30, 1997, page B12. "Among his winged brethren, the song of the wood thrush has no equal." And much more.
"... the sudden drop to a deep contralto (the most glorious bit of vocalism to be heard in our woods), and the tinkle or spray of bell-like tones at the other extreme of the gamut." Torrey, p.113.
A longer record of the
From my kitchen window (!). Bird has 4 motifs and sings them here,
one almost exactly every 3 seconds, in the order
Five minutes from the same bird (July 2017):
" ... the leisurely, wide-spaced measures of a hermit thrush. When he sings there is no great need of a chorus; the forest has found a tongue; ..." Torrey 1901, p.148.
"The song of the Hermit Thrush is the grand climax of all bird music; it is unquestionably so far removed from all the rest of the wild-wood singers' accomplishments that vaunted comparisons are invidious and wholly out of place." Etc., etc. Mathews, p.235.
News: This Bird's Songs Share Mathematical Hallmarks With Human Music: The hermit thrush prefers to sing in harmonic series, a fundamental component of human music by Helen Thompson, Smithsonian.com November 3, 2014.
Artnote. The composer Amy Beach (1867-1944) features piano translations of hermit thrush songs in at least two of her works: A Hermit Thrush at Eve, Op92, No1 (here played by Alan Feinberg) and A Hermit Thrush at Morn, Op92, No2 (Jo Morin). They are mentioned in David Wright's Classical Music; A Lady, She Wrote Music, Nonetheless (New York Times, Sept. 6, 1998): "Beach even borrowed themes from nature; in 1922, she painstakingly transcribed the song of a bird outside her studio at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire, then incorporated it into two extraordinary piano pieces, 'The Hermit Thrush at Morn' and 'The Hermit Thrush at Eve.' In this music, Beach does for the Romantic piano piece what [Charles] Ives did for the symphony: express human longings for nature and the divine through a polytonal mix of natural and artful sounds. Such discourse came readily to these successors of the New England Transcendentalists." YouTube has many other fine recordings of both pieces.
Swainson's Thrush (Olive-backed Thrush)|
Long Island, May 1996.
"The song of Swainson's Thrush is one of the most charming examples of a harmony in suspension which it is possible to find in all the realm of music. The bird deliberately chooses a series of even intervals and climbs up the scale with a thought entirely single to harmonious results." Mathews, p.231.
The Quicktime Veery of Letchworth State Park
"The surpassing glory of the veery's song, as all lovers of American bird music may be presumed by this time to know, lies in its harmonic, double-stopping effect, -- an effect, or quality, as beautiful as it is peculiar. One day, while I stood listening to it under the best of conditions, admiring the wonderful arpeggio (I know no less technical word for it), my pencil suddenly grew poetic. 'The veery's fingers are quick on the harpstrings,' it wrote." Torrey, p. 116.
"A rich and sweet, but short warble." Chapman.
INDEX: Main Bird Page Gulls and Terns Other Shorebirds Geese and Ducks Loons Doves Raptors Owls Goatsuckers and Swifts Kingfishers Quails, Partridges, etc. Cuckoos Woodpeckers Flycatchers Titmics and Nuthatches Wrens Mimic Thrushes Thrushes Vireos Warblers Orioles and Blackbirds Tanagers Swallows Crows and Jays Finches Sparrows Hummingbird Tony's Home Page