Las Pilitas Nursery

California Native Plants are all we grow!

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3232 Las Pilitas Rd
Santa Margarita, CA 93453

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This website is dedicated to Bert Wilson. His genius continues to inspire us.

Hermit Thrush, Catharus guttatus

This small and inconspicuous bird has a very conspicuous song. It is said to be one of the most beautiful songs. The Hermit thrush is quite cute and has a way of flicking its wings and tail nervously.

How to attract the hermit thrush to your garden

The Hermit Thrush will come to your garden if you have an abundance of food. They like Toyon, a large evergreen bush with red berries. This bush provides leaf litter, cover as well as a source of berries. Holly leaf cherry is also popular with the Hermit thrush. It is also evergreen and has very large attractive berries.

Migration of the Hermit thrush

This bird migrates at night. Birds that breed here move south for the winter and birds farther up north move here for the winter.

Range of the Hermit thrush

The Hermit thrush is found throughout California in moist shaded areas.

Habitat and plant community used by the Hermit thrush

Lodgepole pine forest

Yellow pine forest

Northern coastal scrub

Red Fir Forest

Lodgepole pine forest


Northern oak woodland

Mixed evergreen forest

Nesting Habitats used by the Hermit thrush

The Hermit thrush nests in deep shade in small trees or shrubs, often near the ground.

Diet of the Hermit thrush

The Hermit thrush feeds on insects, spiders, and worms found in the leaf litter. It forages in leaf litter with its bill. It also eats berries, fruits and seeds which it picks while hovering.

Niche filled by the Hermit thrush

The Hermit thrush uses leaf litter and dense shrubbery.

If you want ground foraging birds you probably should not have a cat. I love cats but cats love birds. It is just one of those facts of nature.

Hermit thrushes as well as many other birds thrive on the creatures in the leaf litter so don't rake it up. The leaf litter helps to keep your soil and in turn your plants healthy. It also helps keep the soil moist. Your garden can still look neat and managed with leaf litter. Just allow it to build up in the beds and if you must you can rake the paths. This makes it look a little more formal. See the picture of the garden path above.

Mr. Hermit Thrush at bird bath. - grid24_12
Mr. Hermit (or is it Mrs.?) showing his reddish tail.