The State of Hermit Thrushes
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.
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.
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.