And scent of pine and the woodthrush singing through the fog"http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/08/0816_020816_thrushsong.htmlThe brown-backed, speckle-breasted, eight-inch wood thrush only looks drab. All of his beauty is concentrated in his voice. Let the scarlet tanager take the prize as the forest's flashiest dresser. Among his winged brethren, the song of the wood thrush has no equal.The wood thrush's song consists of several phrases, variations on his basic ee-o-lay theme, in quality like a flute but richer, not airy. Each phrase usually concludes with a high-pitched "chord" that vibrates on multiple frequencies. Throaty utterings audible at close range may introduce the next phrase. The song's ending is sometimes marked by a downsliding note that slows and trails off. After a pause, the song is repeated. Occasionally, the wood thrush launches into a series of sustained intonations, a haunting counterpoint to his primary song.There is wide variation in the singing ability of wood thrushes. Some are almost mechanical, others merely sweet—the inspired wood thrush sings with a certain soulfulness. He plays his fine vocal instrument with great sweetness, yet there is an undercurrent of sadness. He speaks to me of struggle and survival, of loss and rebirth, and ultimately of hope. He awakens me to the indefinable yearnings that humans and wood thrushes share.The thrushes, a family that includes the American robin and the Eastern bluebird, are known for their vocal skill. Some have argued that the wood thrush's close relative, the hermit thrush, is the better singer, but the hermit thrush's ethereal song strikes me as too heavenly. The voice of the wood thrush, touched by earthly matters, resonates more powerfully with the human condition.--------------------------------
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