Swainson’s Thrush heading back north

Swainson’s Thrush (Catharus ustulatus) in Costa Rica is a common migrant from North America. The return trip north now seems to be under way, but this is the first time that I have recorded the species here locally in the month of March. I have also seen this pretty thrush at nearby Verbena and San Diego in January and February. These were presumably winter residents, which are uncommon. John Beer’s photo below is of a migrant at Santa Rosa last year.

Swainson´s Thrush John

Speckles and eye-ring: Swainson’s Thrush

The russet-backed (Pacific population) variety is the one generally found in Costa Rica. Yesterday’s bird was near the top of a bottle-brush tree in the churchyard opposite my gate.

In October, 2010, a Swainson’s Thrush hit one of our windows. Happily it made a speedy recovery after resting for a while on the picnic table. Window accidents are much fewer since I installed a decorative windsock close to the largest ones.

Swainson's thrush open beak

Swainson’s Thrush, still slightly stunned

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