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State Birds of the US
State Symbols: State Birds

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Vermont State Bird

Hermit Thrush

State symbol: Hermit Thrush - Vermont State Bird

(Catharus guttatus)

Adopted on June 1, 1941.

Vermont's No. 1 of the Acts of 1941 established the Hermit Thrush, (Catharus guttatus,) as the official State Bird, effective June 1, 1941. Attaining this status was not, however, an easy flight for the bird. Among other things, it was not considered a true Vermonter because, unlike the blue jay or crow (which were favored by some legislators), the Hermit Thrush leaves Vermont during the winter in its southward migration. The record is not clear, but this bird was selected to represent Vermont, among other things, because it has a distinctive sweet call, and because it is found in all of Vermont's 14 counties. The bird's usual habitat is the ground and low branches of shrubs and trees in woodland areas.

From Office of the Secretary of State, Vermont Legislative Directory and State Manual, Biennial Session, 1993-1994, p. 12.

Vermont State Bird: Hermit Thrush

State symbol: Hermit Thrush - Vermont State Bird

The hermit thrush is a medium-sized North American thrush. It is not very closely related to the other North American migrant species of Catharus, but rather to the Mexican russet nightingale-thrush.

The hermit thrush is the only member of its genus to spend the winter in North America. It changes its diet from eating nearly entirely insects in summer to one of equal parts insects and fruit in winter.

Characteristics of the Hermit Thrush

  • Length: 6 inches
  • Eastern United States have olive-brown upperparts-gray-brown in western birds
  • White eye ring
  • Dark spots on breast
  • Underparts white with brownish to grayish flanks
  • Pink legs
  • Thin bill with pale base to lower mandible
  • Sexes similar
  • Often forages on forest floor
  • Distinctive song
  • Only brown-backed thrush to regularly winter in the United States
  • Migrates earlier in Spring and later in Fall than similar-looking thrushes

Vermont Statutes Annotated

The law designating the hermit thrush as the official Vermont state bird is Section § 497. (State bird) of the Vermont Statutes, Title 1 (General Provisions) Chapter 11 (FLAG, INSIGNIA, SEAL, ETC)  Section 497.

Title 1: General Provisions.
Chapter 11: FLAG, INSIGNIA, SEAL, ETC.
1 V.S.A. § 497. State bird.

§ 497. State bird
The state bird shall be the hermit thrush.

Taxonomic Hierarchy: Hermit Thrush

Kingdom: Animalia - animals
Phylum: Chordata - chordates
    Subphylum: Vertebrata - vertebrates
Class: Aves - birds
Order: Passeriformes - perching birds
Family: Muscicapidae - old world flycatchers
Genus: Catharus Bonaparte, 1850 - verrys
Species: Catharus guttatus (Pallas, 1811) - hermit thrush, Zorzal cola rufa

Official State Birds
US map : Birds & Flowers
State Bird:  Bird selected (by the legislature) as an emblem of a State.
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