Which is the most common?
Thrushes and thrushes are two different species in the thrush family that are often confused by birders. This is because they share similarities in habits and appearance. Both birds, which have spots on their breasts, for example, can be found in gardens across the country, where they feed on berries in lawns and bushes.
The main difference between the two birds is that the thrush has a rounder appearance and a lighter chest with markings that look like inverted hearts or arrowheads. Mistles thrush looks lighter, almost gray at first glance. Thrushes also have rougher markings on their chest that look like thorns.
You’re unlikely to confuse these two birds with any other, but sometimes, female blackbirds can be paler and have some stripes on the upper part of their breasts. The best way to tell if it’s a blackbird is by looking at the legs, as blackbird legs tend to be reddish brown or dark in color. Both Mistle and Song Thrush have lighter colored legs.
Thrushes are predominantly brown with a lighter chest. These breasts have darker spots that look a bit like arrowheads or inverted hearts. These birds are smaller in size than thrushes, and they have a more rounded appearance compared to thrushes.
The tail is the same color as the upper body, in contrast to the thrush; the thrush does not have the white outer tail feathers. Under the wings is a rusty buff – this sometimes extends to the sides of the bird. The margins of the wing feathers are orange-yellow. Males and females look alike.
The thrush utters a repeating song whose notes are as follows ‘seoo, seoo, seoo, tidic, tidic, tidic, tew, tew, tew.’ The sound is similar to the click of a bicycle wheel as it spins.
Thrushes are larger in size than blackbirds and are much lighter in color, almost gray at first glance. The spots on the chest look more like thorns. Spots on the sides and belly appear rounder compared to thrushes.
The color of the tail usually contrasts with the lighter lower back and rump. The tail also has a shallower outer edge. The undersides of the wings are white, and the edges of the wingtips are white. Males and females are similar in appearance.
On the ground, thrushes can often be seen alert in an upright posture.
The song of the mistletoe thrush is very similar to that of the thrush, but much shorter and more somber in tone. The call has been compared to the noise of an old-fashioned football rattle because it is a dry sound.
Mistle Thrush (Image credit: Yuriy75, CC BY-SA 3.0)
Which is the most common?
The most common between the two is thrush. This is because the breeding population of thrushes is estimated to be around 1 million individuals. Thrushes, on the other hand, are estimated to have about one-fifth that number.
So statistically, you’ll see thrushes in the garden quite often.
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I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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