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Townsend’s Solitaire

Myadestes townsendi

The Townsend’s Solitaire breeds in a variety of montane coniferous forest types, up to and even above tree line. Fall migration is often more of a decent in elevation than in latitude. In summer many of these birds migrate as far north as Alaska, but winters find them from southern Canada to northern Mexico in western North America. Their winter range includes many locations where they remain year-round.

A carnivore in spring and summer, these birds switch from insects to fruits and berries, especially Juniper berries in winter. These thrushes behave more like flycatcher in the breeding season. From perches atop tall trees, they fly out to snag insects in the air, then fly back to their perch.

My first meeting with this species was on Santa Rosa Mountain in southern California, but since then I’ve found them in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, in northwestern Wyoming, and near Glenwood in western New Mexico.

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