"However the world goes ill,
The Thrushes still sing in it."
|THE Mocking-bird of the North, as the Brown Thrush has been called, arrives in the Eastern and Middle States about the 10th of May, at which season he may be seen, perched on the highest twig of a hedge, or on the topmost branch of a tree, singing his loud and welcome song, that may be heard a distance of half a mile. The favorite haunt of the Brown Thrush, however, is amongst the bright and glossy foliage of the evergreens. "There they delight to hide, although not so shy and retiring as the Blackbird; there they build their nests in greatest numbers, amongst the perennial foliage, and there they draw at nightfall to repose in warmth and safety." The Brown Thrasher sings chiefly just after sunrise and before sunset, but may be heard singing at intervals during the day. His food consists of wild fruits, such as blackberries and raspberries, snails, worms, slugs and grubs. He also obtains much of his food amongst the withered leaves and marshy places of the woods and shrubberies which he frequents.||Few birds possess a more varied
melody. His notes are almost endless in variety, each
note seemingly uttered at the caprice of the bird,
without any perceptible approach to order.
The site of the Thrush's nest is a varied one, in the hedgerows, under a fallen tree or fence-rail; far up in the branches of stately trees, or amongst the ivy growing up their trunks. The nest is composed of the small dead twigs of trees, lined with the fine fibers of roots. From three to five eggs are deposited, and are hatched in about twelve days. They have a greenish background, thickly spotted with light brown, giving the whole egg a brownish appearance.
The Brown Thrush leaves the Eastern and Middle States, on his migration South, late in September, remaining until the following May.
Within a thick and spreading hawthorn bush
That overhung a molehill, large and round,
I heard from morn to morn a merry thrush
Sing hymns of rapture while I drank the sound
With joy - and oft an unintruding guest,
I watched her secret toils from day to day
How true she warped the moss to form her nest,
And modeled it within with wood and clay.
And by and by, with heath-bells gilt with dew,
There lay her shining eggs as bright as flowers,
Ink-spotted over, shells of green and blue:
And there I witnessed, in the summer hours,
A brood of nature's minstrels chirp and fly,
Glad as the sunshine and the laughing sky."