top of page

Swainson's Thrush

The Swainson’s Thrush is a songbird often associated with spruce-fir forests and can be found in the northern half of the state. This
thrush has a buffy face with a spectacled appearance due to a distinct eye-ring.
It is overall gray-brown with a white belly and brown spots on its throat and
chest. This bird sings its ethereal, uprising song throughout the early morning
and evening. Females construct a nest of plant materials in the forest understory within dense thickets of deciduous shrubs or conifer saplings. Females
are the sole incubators and are highly cautious when approaching the nest to avoid detection. Males sing near the nest site during incubation and deliver
food to the incubating female. Once hatched, young are fed regurgitated insects by both parents. Young remain in the nest for approximately 2 weeks before departing with their parents.

Safe Dates: June 15th to July 25th (applicable for only the S or H codes).


Breeding Evidence: The secretive nature of the Swainson’s Thrush and concealment of their nest site means these behaviors are only observed occasionally. If you hear a bird singing their uprising, ethereal song within the safe dates, use code S. The simplest way to upgrade this to a “Probable Breeder” is to listen for singing again at the same location 7 or more days later to upgrade the code to S7. For silently perched or calling (“peep”) birds, use code H if within the safe dates. If a bird is observed carrying nest building materials (grasses, plant stems, rootlets, mosses, and pieces of bark), use code CN. If an incubating female is found on a nest, use code ON. If a Swainson’s Thrush nest with young is observed, code use NY, but note that we strongly discourage closely approaching or disturbing nesting birds.

Image courtesy of Sue Bishop.

Audio courtesy of Patrik Aberg.

bottom of page