ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Sounds of the Song Thrush

Updated on June 14, 2012

Singing song thrush

One of the most beautiful songs in the bird world come from the song thrush, whose Latin name is Turdus philomelos.

While that sounds like a dreadful name for such a sweet sounding bird, the word turdus is Latin for 'thrush' and philomelos refers to Philomela, a character in Greek mythology who had her tongue cut out, and was then turned into a song bird.

The song thrush today reportedly has a repertoire of over 200 distinct musical phrases, and is known as a great mimicker.

In some gardens, if you listen carefully you may hear the sound of a ringing telephone, remarkably similar to the one in your house.

Quite how the song thrush responds to the many tunes emitted by mobile phones would be interesting to find out!

The song of the thrush is loud and clear, and can be heard morning and evening in many gardens throughout the world, as the male of the species prefers to sit on the branches of tall trees and perform his musical repertoire over and over, sometimes for an hour or longer.

the song thrush
the song thrush | Source

Where does the song thrush live?

The song thrush originally belongs to Eurasia, which takes in Europe and most of northern Asia, although they were introduced to Australia and New Zealand in the 19th century.

These garden birds were brought there by settlers for purely sentimental reasons, which is suggestive of how much loved the sounds of the thrush actually were.

While they thrived in New Zealand, they largely died out in Australia, with only a small population remaining around Melbourne.

In New Zealand they are offered no protection in law because they are quite damaging to the crops upon which the New Zealand economy depends. Farmers there regard them as pests therefore and shoot them.

Despite this, their numbers have not dropped, unlike in Europe where the song thrush population has reduced by 70% over the last few years, mainly because of detrimental changes in farming practices which has seen their natural habitat wiped out with the destruction of hedgerows and trees.

song thrush as seen through tree branches
song thrush as seen through tree branches | Source

Are song thrushes migratory?

Many European song thrushes fly south for winter, settling around the Mediterranean basin, and only returning north in the spring, to breed.

I was quite shocked to learn that as the birds pass over the Valencian region of Spain, it is common practice for the Valencian people to trap and eat them.

They use birdlime (which has been banned by the European Community) to catch them, and the EC has never enforced its ruling in Valencia, despite making attempts to do so in 2003 and 2004.

Birdlime is a type of glue which when spread on tree branches, adheres to any birds which stop for a rest, making them easy to catch.

Having lived myself in Valencia for many years, I have to say I have never seen this practice being carried out, but neither have I ever seen the song thrush in Spain.

It was apparently quite common 12,000 years ago to eat songbirds including thrushes and doves, but I like to think we have moved on since then.

song thrush eggs
song thrush eggs | Source
song thrush chicks being fed by their mother
song thrush chicks being fed by their mother | Source

Where do song thrushes nest?

Song thrushes can be found in hedgerows, tree-tops, urban gardens, forests and parks, anywhere that trees or bushes grow.

Their song is distinctive for being melodic, pure and very loud.

They build their nests low down among the branches of trees or shrubs, seldom higher than 3 feet above the ground.

The female song thrush takes charge of the nest-building. It can take her three weeks to build the most intricate cup shaped nest, out of twigs and grasses, carefully intertwined with mud for stability and warmth.

That same season, which runs between March and August, a breeding pair can produce up to three broods, with the female laying 3 - 5 beautiful pale blue speckled eggs each time, at a rate of one a day.

Only when the last egg is laid, does the female start to incubate them, and the chicks hatch out roughly 13 - 15 days later.

Now the real work begins as those hungry little chicks demand a never-ending supply of worms, caterpillars, slugs, insects, and fruit berries.

Both parents then feed the chicks, and it is around this time you may notice the ingenious way song thrushes collect snails.

They find a stone over which they can smash the shell of the snail which they hold in their beak.

They tend to use the same stone, often referred to as an anvil, and many a snail will meet its fate this way.

This is another very good reason why gardeners are delighted to see a family of song thrushes move in. Snails are pests that eat crops and seedlings.

After about 2 weeks, the chicks become fledglings and leave the nest, but they stay nearby as at this point they cannot fly. It takes them about a week to learn to fly well, although their parents continue to feed them.

Sadly about 80% of chicks will not survive their first year, as they have many predators, from birds of prey to cats.

As they learn to feed themselves, they become the sole charge of their father, while their mother prepares to brood again.

More song thrush singing


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Isabel Melville profile imageAUTHOR

      Isabel Melville 

      6 years ago from Planet Earth

      Hey thanks J! I had a memory that the blackbird had a beautiful song too, but there are about 4 in the garden and all are silent, at least so far. Maybe they only sing at certain times of the year! I need to go learn and find out.

    • JKenny profile image

      James Kenny 

      6 years ago from Birmingham, England

      The song thrush is such a beautiful bird, I love listening to its song, it just sounds so unique compared to the other songbirds. Voted up and shared.

    • Isabel Melville profile imageAUTHOR

      Isabel Melville 

      6 years ago from Planet Earth

      Thankyou:) I certainly do not have your experience with wild birds, and well done you for not only volunteering, but for learning how to deal with wild bird injuries and problems, and for helping them so much :)

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Voted awesome and interesting. This is a wonderful hub and I learned more about the Song Thrush. Thank you, from one bird person to another


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)