I was staring out the window, looking at a Tufted Titmouse and thinking “Man…I guess Thrush-Bob isn’t gonna come back this year…” and literally at that moment he landed on the birdbath and began splashing around.
This is his third year here. Hermit Thrushes do often display site fidelity, but the northern forests are big and life is tough for birds, so I am never sure if he’ll make it back here. And of course, since he showed up on the back deck three years ago and began demanding mealworms (a behavior he trained into us, not the other way around–Hermit Thrushes are supposed to be shy and retiring!) he is now one of the crew.
I think we’re basically the winter spa–fairly regular water when it’s freezing, hot and cold running mealworms, and a sheltered corner of the deck. I always worry because there are feral cats about, but making it three years (or more–we have no idea how long he was showing up in the area before he learned that monkeys were a good source of mealworms) means Thrush-Bob is a tough and canny thrush.
More broadly, Hermit Thrushes are one of the few migratory songbirds whose numbers are rising. We are told that they are rare in backyards and don’t come to feeders, but apparently Bob didn’t get the memo, or “feeders” did not include “Kevin shuffling out at six in the morning muttering “‘Blood and Mealworms for my lord Thrush-Bob…'”