Veery Pencil Sketch p73

Veery Pencil Sketch

Veery Pencil Sketch

Who could possibly pick a favorite type of thrush? I love them all. Veery are especially pretty and have a beautiful call to match. If Mozart were a bird, he’d have to be a thrush. Veery have a musical descending call that rolls down in a cascade of rapid, ethereal notes. On the less charming side, I’ve also heard it described as a “flute going down a toilet.” While lacking in appropriate admiration of its beauty, that does describes it perfectly. It’s also easy to remember.

While on a birding trip with the family this past spring, I took photos of this cooperative bird at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. It was a lot less crowed than Magee Marsh.

Growing up in rural western New York, we heard a lot of thrushes whenever we were out in the woods. Calls of Wood Thrushes and Veery were everywhere. I still get to hear those in Michigan, but one thing I definitely miss is hearing is the drumming of Ruffed Grouse. They can really scare the pants off you as they explode into flight. It’s like a perfectly camouflaged acoustic anti-personnel mine waiting to detonate in the woods. If you get too close, blammo!

Years ago I had the displeasure of coming across a hidden Ruffed Grouse while riding a horse. I was enjoying a relaxing ride at walking pace up a forested hillside in western New York. The earliest of the fall colors were starting to emerge, and it was incredibly relaxing… until the horse almost stepped on a hidden grouse. Let me tell you, that grouse exploded into flight, scaring the life out of the horse and myself. The horse went bonkers and started running full blast through the woods. I was pretty sure I was going to have my head torn off by a low-lying branch. After a bit of coaxing, the horse settled down. What probably was only seconds seemed like minutes as we ripped through the woods getting smacked by saplings, while I anticipated a painful lumber-lobotomy.

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