The Wood Thrush- Hylocichla Mustelina
Did you know? The Wood Thrush is considered a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Maryland. Although many of us still hear its captivating song during spring walks in the woods, this bird has been undergoing a steep decline. According to the North American Breeding Bird Survey, Wood Thrush populations are 62% of what they were in 1966.
The Wood Thrush can harmonize with itself! It is able to sings notes simultaneously, which produce the haunting thrill at the end of its three-part song. Learn more about this fascinating bird at on All About Birds by Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Reasons for their decline:
The main cause of the Wood Thrush’s decline is habitat loss and fragmentation on the breeding and wintering grounds. As a forest breeding bird, it is particularly susceptible as it forages on the ground and nests in the understory. Forest fragmentation in the Eastern U.S. allows more nest predators like feral cats, raccoons, jays, and crows to access Wood Thrush and their nests. Invasive plants can degrade this bird’s understory habitat, as does deer over-browsing. Fragmented forests also invite Brown-headed cowbirds, a brood parasite of the thrush that can lower nesting success.
what you can do to help:
Protect Your Local Forests
Help Maryland DNR map the location of invasive plants in parks and forests through State-Wide Eyes, remove invasive plants from your own backyard, and organize your own invasive-removal event at your favorite park.
Help preserve forested land by supporting one of the many land trust organizations in Maryland, including;
- The Nature Conservancy
- The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy
- Howard County Conservancy
- Chesapeake Conservancy
- The Maryland Environmental Trust
- Lower Shore Land Trust
- Scenic Rivers Land Trust
- Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust
- The Conservation Fund
- The Trust for Public Lands
- Conservancy for Charles County
Plant Native Plants
Modern day nurseries sell more exotic plants than natives. Unfortunately many of these exotics escape our backyards through dispersed seeds. As climate, fragmentation, and pests increasingly threaten forest health, it is critical reduce the impact invasive plants on our land. Planting natives is easy, and can help provide food and habitat for a larger number of birds.
Buy Shade-grown Coffee
Wood Thrushes are also threatened in their wintering grounds by the decline of lowland tropical forest in Central America. Fortunately, shade-grown coffee farms help provides an alternative habitat. The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center certifies coffee brands as Bird-Friendly, so you can be certain your coffee farm provides bird habitat.