Notes and photos from Chasing Melody project work in 2024.


#26 of 26 has been officially deployed! It has been getting harder and harder to catch Wood Thrush as they become less territorial. In the past few weeks we’ve used both audio lures and decoys meant to fool the males into coming closer. Additionally, we have weight requirements to ensure that the thrushes can handle the transmitters, albeit as super tiny as they are. Fortunately, our chunky all-star appeared at the Purdue Richard Lugar Farm.

Wood Thrush, showing motus transmitter and antenna.

Our 26th bird came accompanying an entire family of Carolina Wrens, lining up to jump into the net every time we tried to close it up!


Progress continues after the sometimes difficult to catch Wood Thrush. The territorial nature of many male Wood Thrushes has begun to decline noticeably.

Just like grinding out that last stretch in a run or jog, we’re slowly getting towards our 2024 breeding season banding finish line. Bird number #25 of 26 motus tags being deployed was sent out early this morning on July 2 at Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary.

Despite everything we just said above, this punky male was highly aggressive, and flew directly towards the banders as soon as the net was set up. Only one more to go!

Wood Thrush number 25 at Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary. Photo by Libby Keyes.


We’re excited to report that we’ve now deployed tags on 22 of 26 birds! However, birds are already starting to show less interest in their territories in the south, and second broods are starting now in the north. Getting the last four birds may prove to be difficult, even though there feels like lots of summertime left!

Males are naturally easier to capture than females due to their territorial nature this time of year. That is reflected in this year’s totals thus far. 14 of the 22 birds (64%) have been males.

You can adopt any of our Wood Thrush in the online store. Include a location or bird if you want to adopt a specific Wood Thrush.

Wood Thrush “Gallus Galileo” from Martell Forest, June 19 (he wants to live among the stars and does not like to come down to say hi!) Photo by Lina Rifai


What a 24 hours! 8 birds were tagged statewide on Tuesday, June 11. This included 3 in the Indiana Dunes, 4 at Purdue University (split between Martell Forest and the Purdue Wildlife Area, and one far bird all the way down at Hovey Lake FWA in Posey County. We’ve now tagged and are tracking 19 of our 26 Wood Thrushes being targeted this year.

Wood Thrush banded at the Purdue Wildlife Area on 6/11/24. Photo of “Jewel,” as the banders nicknamed her, by Lina Rifai

By now, many Wood Thrush just don’t respond like they did in May. One one day this week, it took 3 different sites to finally capture a bird. Sometimes, a male is so territorial, you can catch him in 30 seconds! Check it out in this video!


It’s been an exciting couple weeks. After an initial delay in motus tags, they arrived after the Indiana Dunes Birding Festival. The first Wood Thrush received a motus tag on 5/30 at the Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary.

Motus tower at Indiana Dunes State Park.

Teams have now been out capturing birds north to south, and in ten quick days we’ve now captured and banded over 40% of our target number of birds.  Wood Thrush have been currently deployed with Motus tags at Jasper Pulaski FWA, Martell Forest, Indiana Dunes, and the Sam Shine Foundation Preserve.

The breeding season is progressing rapidly. For most Wood Thrush in the state, the first brood is concluding, and the second is beginning. This gives us a prime four-week window to spot territorial adult birds. After this period, the birds become more elusive, their singing decreases, and by mid-August, many adults have quietly begun their migration to the tropics.

A female Wood Thrush that was later tagged. She was banded by locating her nest, thanks to Sycamore Land Trust staff. Photo by Wyatt Downey.


Wood Thrush adoptions are now out! You can support Chasing Melody by adopting a motus tagged bird, which gives you the chance to track and follow your thrush through the fall and spring migration. Learn more about adoptions at

You can also purchase one of these amazing and limited edition Wood Thrush woodblock art pieces by Wildwood Press. Visit their Audubon Collaboration Page to see this print and others!

Copyright © 2024 Indiana Audubon Society, Inc.

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