The Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina), with its beautiful flute song, is a charismatic and migratory thrush that nests throughout the Midwest and Eastern U.S. With their rich, russet-brown feathers adorned by elegant black speckles and a distinct white eye-ring, these birds epitomize grace and charm. Their melodious song, often described as a flute-like series of ethereal notes, fills the woodland air with a sense of enchantment. Listen to a Wood Thrush from the Yellowwood State Forest.

Despite its well-known song and annual migration, much is unknown about population movement and conservation needs across the annual cycle of this beautiful bird. Steep declines in the last 50 years has put the Wood Thrush on the USFWS’ Birds of Conservation Concern list. In Indiana, nearly 4% of the entire species nests in Indiana. In a first of its kind program, Indiana Audubon and the Indiana DNR is partnering with international partners in the first full scale, life-cycle tracking project of Wood Thrushes from every part of their range, both summering and wintering grounds.

This project will link a joint international effort to deploy Motus tags on upwards of 600 Wood Thrush between 2024-2025 in breeding states, as well as six non-breeding countries in Latin America (Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica). Data gathered will assist managers in targeting habitat management along migratory pathways and allow us to learn which corridors to add for management protection. This dataset learned will also provide clearer ties from breeding to nonbreeding grounds which allows for strengthened partnerships between North American and Latin American conservation partners.

How Can you Help!?

Proposed approach deploying 20-25 tags per state across Wood Thrush breeding and nonbreeding range. Green stars indicate states with a robust Motus network where tagging could be possible in Year 1.

Indiana Audubon and the Indiana DNR is raising the approximately $18,000 needed to support the Wood Thrush project work in Indiana. Funding will provide for the costs of Motus tags, tag training, and deployment of tags statewide at various locations that host Motus towers in the state.

Your support helps us learn more about where uur Wood Thrushes migrate and spend the winters, which allows us to focus our conservation spending to where it helps the birds the most!

Consider making a gift today towards our understanding and conservation for one of the most critically important nesting birds in Indiana.  A $250 donation funds the purchase cost of a transmitter backpack worn on a Wood Thrush to Central America.  Our FOREST STEWARDS fund the entire lifespan of a single Wood Thrush through deployment, tracking, and monitoring online for $560.00

Want to adopt a Wood Thrush?  Watch for Motus tag adoptions in our online support store in 2024.




Project Partners

Indiana Audubon

Indiana Division of Fish & Wildlife

The Nature Conservancy Indiana

Indiana University 

US Fish & Wildlife Services

Cleveland Cliffs Foundation

Missouri Conservation Heritage Association

Migratory Ecology Program SELVA

Sam Shine Foundation

Project Sponsors

Robert Cooper Audubon Society (2 birds!)

Friends of Goose Pond (2 birds!)

Sycamore Audubon Society 

Sassafras Audubon Society

Dunes-Calumet Audubon Society

Evansville Audubon Society


Wood Thrush by Ryan Sanderson



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