A project of

Hermit Thrush

Vermont's State Bird

With a song that provides the soundtrack to summer evenings across the north country, the Hermit Thrush is familiar - at least by ear - to many. Hermit Thrushes also stick closer to home than their close relatives; rather than undertake long migrations, most spend the winter in the southern United States.

The State of Hermit Thrushes

Regionally: Stable

Hermit Thrush are relatively uncommon in the montane forests surveyed as part of Mountain Birdwatch. Numbers have fluctuated during the period 2011-2016, but without any clear trend. Hermit Thrush were not part of the original Mountain Birdwatch protocol, so we have no data on populations prior to 2011.

Recent stability

Hermit Thrush numbers in the study area have fluctuated since 2011, but without any clear trend. Faded bars estimate the uncertainty in the estimate of abundance.

Globally: Steady or Increasing

Data collected by the Breeding Bird Survey indicate that the size of the breeding population of Hermit Thrushes is steady or growing slowly. Population gains appear concentrated in eastern North America, exemplified by the ongoing colonization of the southern Appalachians. In contrast, populations in western North America may be declining.

Hermit Thrush numbers have increased or remained steady across Canada and the United States according to the Breeding Bird Survey. Points indicate annual estimate of relative abundance; higher numbers mean more Hermit Thrushes were counted in that year. Solid black lines above and below indicate the uncertainty around estimates of relative abundance. Figure provided by the United States Geological Survey.

Opportunities for Conservation

In general, Hermit Thrush populations appear secure. Hermit Thrush will benefit from general conservation measures such as maintaining intact, unfragmented forests; providing safe migration pathways; and taking measures to reduce atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.

What We Can Do to Help

Hermit Thrush reach the upper limits of their elevational distribution in the transition zone between northern hardwoods and montane spruce-fir forests. However, climate change may allow this species to advance upward, due either to the direct effects of milder conditions at higher elevations or the indirect effects of changes in the structure of montane forests. Continued monitoring of this species as part of Mountain Birdwatch will help document the ecological impacts of ongoing climate change.

State of Mountain Birds