Mystery Calls – Varied Thrush?

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I was sent a short clip of a strange sounding bird that had been recorded along Thimbleberry Lake trail. I was told the bird had been calling in the same area for a few weeks. It was a faint recording, but what I heard sounded sound-wise very much like a Varied Thrush, but the rhythm was not at all typical.

I went up that way today with a general idea of the area the bird had been heard. While sitting on the side of a small bridge under the shelter of a large hemlock not far from where the trail starts to leave the Thimbleberry Lake shoreline, I heard the bird calling and was able to get some recordings of it.

The bird was calling from the forest on the Verstovia (uphill) side of the trail. It did not sound too far away, but I was not able to get sight of it. The sound quality still makes me think Varied Thrush, but I’ve not ever heard one sing like this before. In the recordings I’ve posted here, I trimmed some of the longer quiet spaces between the calls (which were originally between 11 and 26 seconds, though most typically 15-20 seconds). Although in these clips the bird calls are in two or three note patterns, I was told that sometimes there were also four notes.

I am wondering if anyone else has heard something like this before – is it a Varied Thrush that is singing a different song for some reason? Or is there another species out there not typically found around Sitka that sounds similar to a Varied Thrush in sound quality but has this different song?

Thanks to Linda B. for letting me know about this bird.

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