Varied Thrush

Somewhat similar in form and coloring to their relative the robin, the varied thrushes spend the winter quietly foraging in the forest. My observations so far are that they seem to travel mostly in small groups of 3-6, although on occasion I have seen larger flocks. I most commonly see them flying on or near the forest floor. It looks like they are alternately feeding and keeping lookout, as they will fly between bushes in the understory and the ground. I do not recall having seen them all in bushes or all on the ground except on one occasion when there was a large number of individuals moving between isolated patches of trees rather than in the forest. I wonder if they alternate between feeding and being lookout for the group. The ones in the bushes have not made any noise that I have heard, even when apparently approached too closely by humans. Despite their relatively bold dark gray and orange coloring, they blend in with the forest floor quite well. In the shade of the forest, the gray easily disappears into the darker duff and moss while the orange blends in with the spruce cones that litter the ground. While I was watching them recently I was only barely able to make out the shape of each bird when it was motionless on the ground even when I knew where it was. It would be easy to pass one by unseen if it did not move and I did not know it was there.

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