While some members of the thrush family, including bluebirds, robins and solitaires, winter in parts of the U.S., most of the spotted thrushes head south of the border for the colder months. An exception is the hermit thrush.
Known for its beautiful song, the hermit thrush breeds in coniferous forests from southern Alaska to New England and southward through the Sierra Nevada, Rocky Mountains and Appalachians. Come autumn, this thrush heads for mixed woodlands and thickets across much of the lower 48 and Central America. There it is more reclusive, scouring the undergrowth for buds, berries and hibernating insects.
Significantly smaller than a robin, the hermit thrush sports an olive-brown back, rusty tail, white eye ring, spotted breast and white abdomen; its tail-flicking habit also aids identification. Usually found alone, this bird is quiet during the colder months but may begin to sing before leaving for its breeding territory in mid spring. Since it seldom visits suburban areas, you will need to leave your windowside perch and head for a woodland trail to see this winter thrush.