Updated: Mar 26, 2021
The Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) population is dropping in Pennsylvania. According to the Breeding Bird Survey, almost half of the Wood Thrush have disappeared over the last 50 years. Wood Thrush are still widespread, but research shows that Wood Thrush depend on large forest blocks to withstand predation. Brown-headed cowbirds, raccoons, chipmunks, and other predators prey on Wood Thrush nests near forest edges. Pennsylvania is particularly critical to Wood Thrush survival since 8.5% of the global population is found in our forests. During the spring and summer, the Wood Thrush’s magical “ee-oh-lay” flute-like song echoes through the forest, instilling delight in even the most casual visitor. The cinnamon brown upperparts are good camouflage, since it feeds mostly on the forest floor, scratching in the leaf litter as it searches for snails and other invertebrates. Other birds that will benefit from protecting Wood Thrush Habitat are forest interior birds like Eastern Whip-poor wills, Winter Wrens, Louisiana Waterthrush, and many wood warblers.