|Catharus minimus||Order: Passeriformes||Family: Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)|
This handsome bird is shyer and a little trickier to identify than other Catharus thrushes, and doesn’t sing or call as much as its relatives during migration. I usually see one or two in my own yard during migration, but that requires looking carefully through branches and on the ground in the part of the front yard where I usually see them. If I looked as hard in other parts of my yard, it’s possible I’d see even more.
The almost identical Bicknell’s Thrush was, until 1995, considered a subspecies of the Gray-cheeked Thrush. It has a much tinier range than the Gray-cheeked, but because it’s in the southeastern provinces and New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, it has been studied and reported on much more thoroughly than the wider-ranging but more remote Gray-cheeked Thrush. In the East, distinguishing these two species during migration can be tricky, but in the Midwest, virtually all of these thrushes can be safely assumed to be Gray-cheeked.