The forest in spring is chorus of bird songs. Warblers, flycatchers and sparrows lend their voices, but thrushes are among Alaska's most widespread songbirds. And among songbirds, their voices stand out.
The American robin is the best known of the thrushes. Its song is the familiar "cheer up, cheerio" ---
The brightly colored varied thrush, the robin's larger cousin, has a distinct song that is easily recognized. It's actually two notes of slightly different pitch, sung at the same time. The double note call is somewhat reminiscent of a gym teacher's whistle.
The robin has two smaller, inconspicuous cousins, the hermit thrush and Swainson's thrush. Both have beautiful, flutelike voices. The hermit thrush song starts with a clear, single note, followed by a chiming warble. This is repeated on different pitches. -----
The song of Swainson's thrush ascends up the scale with a spiraling warble and fades. -------
Both Swainson's thrush and the hermit thrush are birds that are heard more often than seen.