Return of the Hermit Thrush…


The song of the Hermit Thrush is to me the most beautiful sound on earth.  The state bird of Vermont is in residence from mid-April until the full moon in August.  A four month visit to the Green Mountains sounds more like a part-time state bird to me, but I will take him for as long as he is willing to stay. Gladly.

I equate the sound of the thrush with longing.  This association began in childhood on summer nights when my father worked late. I would try to stay awake to say good night to him, since he would be off to work again before dawn.  But try as I might, some evenings I would drift to sleep with the thrush’s song trailing off into the forest.  His last notes would end around nine in the evening, fading like a memory with the last light. 

To this day I anticipate the sound of the thrush in April with a pleasurable mix of melancholy and thrill. Summers passing, years blurring – when I hear his distinct voice, I am an eight year old again. The elusive Hermit Thrush sings from the shadows… far back in the low-lit hemlock. When he returns I know that summer is near.  Summer: a short season in another fast moving year. Like any other this will be a year of endings and new beginnings, of sadness and joy. The summers in a lifetime are finite. And there is something about this much-anticipated bird that makes me want to grab life… to grab the people I love and hold them so close that I can feel their hearts beating.  Time is precious and life ephemeral.  I can not shake the feeling that the Hermit Thrush is trying to tell me not to fall asleep. Stay wide awake.  Hold on to each day of your life for as long as possible and drink it all in. 


Hear the Hermit Thrush and see more information about this bird at:




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