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July 04, 2022

Birds of Ripon 08

By Bernie Pilarski

The Hermit Thrush

The Hermit Thrush is an infrequent visit to our yard. You have to be pretty lucky to catch a glimpse of him. My research indicates that the Thrush is fairly evenly distributed across the U.S., but I never saw one back East. Then again, I never saw a shrimp in Pennsylvania, but based on how many shrimp are served up by Red Lobster alone, I have to believe shrimp are one of the most common creatures on the planet. So, let's look closely at the name Hermit Thrush to see what we may discover about the bird. Hermit: one that retires from society and lives in solitude. Thrush: a smaller relative of the robin in the Muscicapidae family.

Being someone who is generally uncomfortable if there is anyone in the room other than myself, I can begin to understand the Thrush. I have always wanted to be like the sparrow, somebody who blends in easily with the group, somebody who always has a crowd of friends and family about. But I could never find that group. Family wasn't it -- we were too fragmented, and the relationships too turbulent to be comfortable. School definitely wasn't it -- I lacked the money or the athletic ability to be popular, and was way too shy to befriend any girls (not that any took notice).

In fact, even now, all things being equal, I would just as soon find myself a one room cabin on the pond and live a simple Waldenesque existence. One room. A woodstove for heating and cooking, a small table for eating and writing, and a cot. That's it. Well maybe some bookshelves. And books. A few only, and nothing by Saul Bellows. Or Anne Rice. A simple life in tune with nature. And wireless broadband access and a laptop, a simple one since it would mostly be used as a word processor and casual web browsing. A small freezer might be nice to store the Bagel Bites until I'm ready to pop them in the microwave. Maybe a doobie -- and some lemon bars. Lots of lemon bars. And a woman.

I think the Hermit Thrush lives such a simple life, and that's why we don't see him much. Only when he comes to town to score some seed and a couple boxes of cookie mix do we get the chance to see him. Otherwise, he is off contemplating Thoreau.

Once again, rigorous scientific investigation reveals secrets of nature that might otherwise have remain shrouded in mystery.

Article © Bernie Pilarski. All rights reserved.
Published on 2006-12-18
Image(s) © Bernie Pilarski. All rights reserved.
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