Namaste, Wood Thrush

photo by Blaine Rothauser

photo by Blaine Rothauser

     Oh, wood thrush, how I love you.  

     To my ears, your song is the sweetest of all forest sounds.   Yet I almost never see you;  you hide yourself so well, deep among the leaves.  That gorgeous trilling music of yours is the only way I know you are near.  

     Although it is not yet June, you have already broken my heart–both with joy and with grief–this spring.  First, the joy of your arrival, when early on a morning in late April, I heard the clear, trilling notes of your song wafting through the open bathroom window.  ”You’re back!” I thought.  ”I’m so glad you’re here!” What pleasure to stand at that window, eyes closed, taking in the sweet song I had not heard since last summer.

     You weren’t the only wood thrush who had returned from the distant south, for later that very day I heard one of your relatives, musically trilling, as my  friend Leslie and I savored a rare opportunity to meet up and walk together along a forest trail.   Those pure, sweet notes added to the day’s pleasure.

     That day, when I knew the wood thrush was back, reminded of the time their forest music startled me and made me gasp.  It was January.  My husband and I were in Costa Rica, and I heard the wood thrush warbling in the dense tropical forest.  Oh yes, I suddenly realized.  Costa Rica is the ‘south’ where wood thrushes go when our temperate Virginia forest gets too chilly for them in the fall.

     And then there is the grief part of the story I mentioned.  I actually did see one of these elusive birds recently.  But the reason I could see it was a sad one;  it was dead.  I discovered the small spotted body about a foot outside the sliding glass door to our deck.  The little fellow must have been killed by flying into that  invisible yet unforgiving glass door, another casualty of our human desire to enjoy the view.

     The little bird must have died just a short time earlier because it lay so soft and pliant in my hand, not at all stiff.  I placed him gently on the ground, in the lee of a tree trunk.  And since I so seldom see a wood thrush, I took his picture.


     If you would like to hear–and see–a wood thrush singing in the forest, you will find this YouTube video a treat.  Especially fascinating to me is the way the lower part of the beak vibrates up and down to make the trilling sounds.

     And so I say to every wood thrush I hear, in honor of the divine spark that animates it–and all of us– “namaste.”–April Moore








5 Responses to “Namaste, Wood Thrush”

  1. Livvie Says:

    Lovely – thanks

  2. Maggie Says:

    Hi, dear April!
    Thank you for that lovely piece! I think of you often.



  3. April Says:

    My friend Elizabeth had difficulty posting her comment, so I am posting it for her:

    I’m so happy to watch this video and memorize this lovely birdsong. I haven’t heard it in my yard this year, but certainly in the past. I’ll be extra vigilant now!

    Thank you!


  4. Alan Brundage Says:

    Thanks for the lovely song and experience! We rarely have a wood thrush in Arizona, yet one of my most beloved songs in ponderosa forests here is the hermit thrush. On every hike I hope to hear it, and have only been able to see it once. Maybe this quote from Wikipedia helps explain its effect on me – “Analysis of the notes of its song indicates that they are related by harmonic simple integer pitch ratios, like most human music and unlike the songs of other birds that have been similarly examined.”

  5. Larry A. Scott Says:

    Thank you for the beauty, April Moore. and much love to you and your family. Larry

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