Monday, May 13, 2013

Hermit Thrush

As this Hermit Thrush foraged in Lake Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he kept a safe distance from me at all times.  If I took a step forward, so would he.  If I took two steps, he would take the equivalent in bird steps.  He was maintaining a comfort zone and I was on the edge of it. 

When I tried to cheat the difference, he flew to the other side of the ravine.   Lucky for him, he found a wasp over there to eat. He never took an eye off of me though. 

The Hermit Thrush is a ground feeder…gleaning insects and berries from the understory vegetation.   It’s interesting how a spotted breast helps camouflage him from his prey. Maybe spots mimic his sun-dappled surroundings. He evolved into this pattern for a reason…maybe spots just work for him?

He would disappear in and out of the brush occasionally…always alert to the dangers of being a bird in a tight spot. I’ve photographed a Merlin in this ravine.  A Merlin could take a thrush in a heartbeat.   

What prompted him to leave when he did…I don’t know.  He did find one wasp.  Maybe that was enough for now.  

I could have made him nervous, too…I just hope not.


Note: Thanks to John O'Donnell for clarification on this thrush.