Monday, May 28, 2007

Wood Thrush

Wood Thrush

This wood thrush had a close encounter with our front window the other morning. He later perked up and flew away, I hope without permanent damage. Here's a bit of what Emma Bell Miles had to say about the wood thrush in Our Southern Birds.

Listen to him reverently and with an open heart, for here is one of the world's perfect voices. The Thrush tone is the purest and sweetest to be found among American birds...Fortunately he is common throughout the wooded portion of the South, and not too shy,--never so shy as he is reserved, with a delicate dignity of manner and a love for the deep recesses of green leaves....Here is a fit instrument, fine in every detail, through which the very soul of music speaks....To me, the song is chiefly associated with the hour of dawn, for the thrush is earliest waking of all our birds. Morning after morning it is his voice that awakes the sleeping forest, when the east is streaked with rose.

Perhaps I have low tastes, but I think Ms. Miles was over-influenced by Thoreau, and by indifferent versifiers of the late nineteenth-century. Give me a house wren or a Carolina wren any day.


John L. Trapp said...

Rebecca: Call me elitist, but I have to side with Ms. Miles on this one. House and Carolina wrens are fine songsters, but something about the ethereal quality of the Wood Thrushes song just gives me goosebumps.

Rebecca Clayton said...

For me, the strong emotional reaction (like goosebumps) only comes from my childhood. The Western Meadowlark, in chorus with Red-winged Blackbirds, was the bird who called earliest in the spring, and piped up at dawn and dusk in the hottest August weather in western Iowa.