Congratulations to Craig Hunt for winning the October 2023 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! His head-on portrait of a handsome Hermit Thrush received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.
Unlike the other thrush species that migrate through or raise young in Vermont, the Hermit Thrush holds a special place in the state not just as the State Bird but also as the only thrush in its genus that can be found here even in the depths of winter. Thanks to the mountains of community science data that birders across the state provide through Vermont eBird, we can visualize with bar charts and graphs like this one when different species are most likely to be encountered. While most Hermit Thrushes head to more southern locales during the winter, a few hardy individuals stick around in slightly warmer or lower-elevation sites in Vermont. If you’re thinking of joining your local Christmas Bird Count this year, consider seeking out areas with some open water and late-season fruiting plants that could provide safe-haven for one of these tough thrushes. Until their flute-like songs ring through the forest once more, Vermont birders can keep an ear out for the distinctive “chup” calls of Hermit Thrushes in the hopes of an up-close encounter like the one featured here.
Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist where you can vote for the winner this month by clicking the ‘fave’ star on your favorite photo-observation. Make sure you get outdoors and record the biodiversity around you, then submit your discoveries and you could be a winner!