The other day while I was high in a tree stand and bow hunting for deer in Virginia's mountains, a hermit thrush flew by, perched near me, and broke into song. Hermit thrushes, close relatives to robins and bluebirds which live in Southwest Virginia year round, are fall and winter visitors to this part of the state.
I have uncommonly heard them sing in November and this lone bird's (is this why they have the appellation hermit in their name) willingness to warble his whistling, flute-like melody was most welcome on a day when I did not espy any whitetails.
For this blog, I have written a number of times about how much I enjoy combining bird watching with fishing and hunting. Not long after the hermit thrush sang his melody, a lone white-throated sparrow likewise felt the need to do so. For a moment, it was not mid November but a pleasant spring day.
Most of the time in the fall and winter, I only hear two birds commonly sing: cardinals and Carolina wrens, the latter which, I am convinced, would belt out his "tea kettle" song during a blizzard if he so felt the need. This is just one of many reasons why this wren is my favorite songbird and my second favorite bird overall behind only the wild turkey.