Recovery of Swainson’s Thrush in Time for Winter Migration

Thomas Steriti noticed an injured female Swainson’s Thrush at Summer Star. He contacted Tufts Wildlife Clinic and they successfully treated the bird, allowing her to make a full recovery. We released her on Tuesday 10/23 at 11:20 AM so that she can continue her migration south for the winter. Please see the below video and images of the bird as well as Tommy’s account of the events. We hope to see her back in the spring!

Swainson’s Thrush release at Summer Star. Credit: Craig Buttner

Swainson’s Thrush on 10/23 before release. Credit: Tufts Wildlife Clinic

Released back home at Summer Star. Credit: Thomas Steriti

I have some sad but hopeful news I wanted to share with you all. On 10/14 while opening up the Trailhead House I heard a small thud at one of the windows in the studio. I looked and saw some feathers stuck on the window and then noticed a small bird laying on its side in the dirt, injured/stunned but still breathing. I called Tufts Wildlife Clinic to ask what to do. I found an empty box from the Taiwanese bakery, poked holes in the top, laid down a towel and carefully put the bird inside. I then brought the bird to the emergency room at Tufts. During the ride I could hear the bird flapping its wings a bit in the box, which I thought might be a good sign that the bird was still in good enough condition to make a recovery. The staff at Tufts said they would try to bring the bird to a full recovery and, if successful, we would be able to bring it back here to Summer Star to be released!

On 10/23 we picked up the Swainson’s Thrush from Tuft’s and brought her back to Summer Star. Shalin, Craig and I went out onto the Witch Hazel Trail to release her. As soon as we opened the box, she flew right up to a tree branch where she stayed for a while. Please see the photo and video from that morning as well as the photo that they took of her in the cage at Tufts.

What determined this bird to be a Swainson’s Thrush rather than a Hermit Thrush was her slightly more defined lighter ring around its eyes and the lack of the darker/reddish coloration of its tail that Hermit Thrushes have – very subtle differences.

We’re so glad that this was a success story for the little bird and wish her the best of luck on her migration south for the winter!

-Thomas Steriti

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