Rescued from a snowdrift near the airport, this deeply chilled variegated thrush was taken to the warmer Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society.
Very thin, weak and hypothermic, it took him a long time to recover. He was offered special pellets and mealworms, and gradually improved.
His next difficulty was a damaged foot, which was severely cramped by the snowy cold spell and prevented him from perching. Over time, he did his own physical therapy, opening and closing it and gradually gripping the perch; it got better little by little.
After several weeks, he was transferred to the large PROWLS flight cage with another robin and continued to improve. The only time variegated thrushes flock with robins is when they are occasionally foraging lawns for berries or worms, otherwise they will defer to them.
After more than six weeks, the Variegated Thrush was released near where it was found, at the end of McLeod Road. With the logging taking place around the qathet region, it is becoming more and more difficult to find a secure and large enough forest where a safe release is possible.
The varied population of thrushes is in steep decline as they live in mature and old-growth forests. Rarely living in forest patches smaller than about 40 acres, logging and forest fragmentation can lead to habitat loss that reduces their numbers.
In cities, various thrushes are also vulnerable to collisions with cars and window knocks as well as predation by domestic and feral cats. They forage on the ground, periodically moving to higher perches in the understory to sing or move between foraging sites.
With their bright orange eyebrows and burnt orange throat and belly, they are easily identifiable.