Birds of the Bible – The Thrush

Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius) by Daves BirdingPix

Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius) by Daves BirdingPix

Even the stork in the sky Knows her seasons; And the turtledove and the swift and the thrush Observe the time of their migration; But My people do not know The ordinance of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7 NASB)

The Thrush is only used in one verse and then in only the CEV, (ERV), GNB, LITV, NASB, and the NAS77 versions of the Bible.
The other versions translate the word “עגוּר or ‛âgûr” (H5693), pronounced “aw-goor’, as a swallow. H5693 is only used in 2 verses in the Bible, Jeremiah 8:7 and Isaiah 38:14. In Isaiah, the different versions all translate it as a “swallow.”

At any rate, this gives the opportunity to introduce the Thrush. Jeremiah is referring to the migration of the birds and how they know when to go and when to come back, but God’s people don’t always know what is expected of them.

There are two Thrush families, Turdidae Family (184) – most of them and the Muscicapidae Family (297) has some thrushes in it.

Thrushes are plump, soft-plumaged, small to medium-sized birds, inhabiting wooded areas, and often feed on the ground or eat small fruit. They range in size from the Forest Rock-thrush, at 21 g (0.74 oz) and 14.5 cm (5.7 in), to the Blue Whistling-thrush, at 178 g (6.3 oz) and 33 cm (13 in). Most species are grey or brown in colour, often with speckled underparts.

They are insectivorous, but most species also eat worms, snails, and fruit. Many species are permanently resident in warm climes, while others migrate to higher latitudes during summer, often over considerable distances. Our well know American Robin and Bluebirds are part of the Thrush family and are migratory.

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) in nest by Ray

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) in nest by Ray

Thrushes build nest that are cup-shaped and line them with different things including mud. Both parent help in raising the young,  which normally number two to five per brood. Many have two broods a year.

According to Wikipedia the Turdus Genus has the “true thrushes” and it has 65 species in that genus. According to Scripture, I would venture to say that they are all in the same “kind” and have just been busy obeying the command given them to when they came off the Ark.

Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you, birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, that they may breed abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth. (Genesis 8:17 NASB)

Some examples of their migration:

  • Some species show circuitous migratory routes that reflect historical range expansions and are far from optimal in ecological terms. An example is the migration of continental populations of Swainson’s Thrush, which fly far east across North America before turning south via Florida to reach northern South America
  • The Himalayan Kashmir Flycatcher and Pied Thrush both move as far south as the highlands of Sri Lanka.
  • The Song Thrush breeds in forests, gardens and parks, and is partially migratory with many birds wintering in southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East;
Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) by Daves BirdingPix

Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina) by Daves BirdingPix

  • The Wood Thrush’s breeding range extends from Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia in southern Canada to northern Florida and from the Atlantic coast to the Missouri River and the eastern Great Plains. It migrates to southern Mexico through to Panama in Central America in the winter, mostly in the lowlands along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. It generally arrives on the U.S. Gulf Coast during the first week of April. Fall migration usually begins in mid-August and continues through mid-September. Migration takes place at night,[9] allowing them to find their direction from the stars and orient themselves by detecting the Earth’s magnetic field.
  • The Grey-cheeked Thrush migrates to northern South America. This species is a rare vagrant to Europe. Its northerly breeding range and long-distance migration make it one of the more regular North American passerine migrants to cross the Atlantic.
  • The Northern Wheatear makes one of the longest journeys of any small bird, crossing ocean, ice, and desert. It migrates from Sub-Saharan Africa in Spring over a vast area of the northern hemisphere that includes northern and central Asia, Europe, Greenland, Alaska, and parts of Canada. In Autumn all return to Africa, where their ancestors had wintered. Arguably, some of the birds that breed in north Asia could take a shorter route and winter in south Asia; however, their inherited inclination to migrate takes them back to Africa.

The Thrush families are very interesting birds and they definitely migrate. When they were created, their Creator put a destination and a great ability for them to migrate to those places.

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (Colossians 1:16-17 NKJV)

Back to our verse in Jeremiah. The last part of the verse says, “But My people do not know The ordinance of the LORD.”

I like what Matthew Henry said about the whole passage in which the verse is found. Jeremiah 8:4-13:
“What brought this ruin? 1. The people would not attend to reason; they would not act in the affairs of their souls with common prudence. Sin is backsliding; it is going back from the way that leads to life, to that which leads to destruction. 2. They would not attend to the warning of conscience. They did not take the first step towards repentance: true repentance begins in serious inquiry as to what we have done, from conviction that we have done amiss. 3. They would not attend to the ways of providence, nor understand the voice of God in them, Jer_8:7. They know not how to improve the seasons of grace, which God affords. Many boast of their religious knowledge, yet, unless taught by the Spirit of God, the instinct of brutes is a more sure guide than their supposed wisdom. 4. They would not attend to the written word. Many enjoy abundance of the means of grace, have Bibles and ministers, but they have them in vain. They will soon be ashamed of their devices. The pretenders to wisdom were the priests and the false prophets. They flattered people in sin, and so flattered them into destruction, silencing their fears and complaints with, All is well. Selfish teachers may promise peace when there is no peace; and thus men encourage each other in committing evil; but in the day of visitation they will have no refuge to flee unto.”

Wordless Birds


Birds of the Bible – Thrushes (Added 3/14/11)

Birds of the Bible

Birds of the Bible – Thrush Songs

Birds of the World – Turdidae FamilyMuscicapidae Family


3 thoughts on “Birds of the Bible – The Thrush

  1. Pingback: Bird Watching » Blog Archive » Birds of the Bible – Bluebirds « Lee's Birdwatching Adventures Plus

  2. Wow! You did your homework on THIS one, Lee! I’m just imagining the little cup-shaped nest.
    Hey, yesterday I posted a wonderful Nature-Creation Video for older children. No cartoons – real nature! It’s a great way to introduce city children to God’s beautiful creation!
    Hope you’re well? Haven’t heard from you lately.


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