This mature Townsend’s solitaire, which is common to mountainous fir, pine and spruce forests around 1,000 feet in altitude, was saved by a compassionate Powell River resident as it lay hunched up after being attacked by crows in the Vancouver Island University parking lot.
Indoors and on painkillers for five days at Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society, the graceful and lovely bird finished its recuperation outside in a flight cage with a towhee for company.
Behaviour contrasts were sharp with the towhee, which dipped, darted and flitted constantly; the Townsend’s solitaire was still and observing much of the time. Upon release, it showed the same behaviour, which is most unusual.
The solitaire took its bearings on a branch near its release kennel for 20 minutes, then moved to another branch for a period of time. Gradually and quietly, the bird took its leave back into the wild.
Townsend’s solitaires are especially distinguished by the broad yellow striping across their wings, otherwise they blend perfectly into their wooded environments.
They do, however, have a lovely intricate song, best heard on the Cornell University bird website, birds.cornell.edu.