National Geographic Magazine/Volume 31/Number 4/Friends of Our Forests/Northern Water-thrush

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The Warblers of North America[edit]

Northern Water-thrush (Seiurus noveboracencis noveboracensis)[edit]


Range: Breeds chiefly in Canadian Zone from northern Ontario, northern Ungava, and Newfoundland south to central Ontario, northwestern New York, and northern New England, and in mountains south to Pennsylvania and West Virginia; winters from the Valley of Mexico to Colombia and British Guiana, and from the Bahamas throughout the West Indies.

So far as appearance, motions, and habits go, the water-thrush is more thrush than warbler, and one who sees him for the first time walking sedately along with teetering tail may well be excused for declining to class him with the warbler family. He is partial to swamps and wet places, is a ground frequenter, and in no real sense arboreal. Though an inhabitant of the wilds and showing strong preference for swampy ground, he not infrequently visits gardens even in populous towns, and seems to be quite at home there in the shade of the shrubbery. A sharp and characteristic alarm note often calls the attention of the chance passerby, who would otherwise overlook the bird in its shady recesses.

Few who are privileged to hear its notes will dissent from the opinion that the water-thrush is one of the foremost of the warbler choir and a real musician. The bird is a ground builder, placing its nest under the roots of an upturned tree, in banks, or in cavities of various sorts.

Source: Henry W. Henshaw (April 1917), “Friends of Our Forests”, The National Geographic Magazine 31(4): 319. (Illustration from p. 317.)