This was on the NHBirds list today. It indicates other Catharus thrushes do the same thing, but I have yet to see it, can't wait!
From:[log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Elaine Faletra <[log in to unmask]>
Sent:Tuesday, October 13, 2020 10:48 AM
To:[log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Cc:[log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:Re: [NHBirds] Catharus quiver
A Hermit thrush showed up on the lawn this morning and it exhibited the "foot quivering” behavior described below. They really move that foot!
On Oct 4, 2020, at 10:06 AM, Bruce Boyer <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
I was watching a group of small birds fluttering around my R. rugosashrubs and the adjacent lawn this morning. Most were White-throated Sparrows, but there was also a Yellow-rumped Warbler and a Swainson's Thrush. The thrush was exhibiting a behavior new to me: as it moved over the weedy lawn, it would stop and rapidly shake one foot near the top of the vegetation, apparently to stir up insects. Apparently this is a known habit of thrushes of the genus Catharus.
"Migration ecologists Wang Yong and Frank Moore recorded foot-quivering in the other [besides Hermit Thrush] three common North American species ofCatharusthrushes — Swainson’s, Gray-cheeked, and Veery — on migratory stopover. They state, “Although we do not question previous interpretations that regard ‘foot-quivering’ as a hostile (intraspecific) display, the context in which ‘foot-quivering’ occurred during our study and the frequent attempts to capture prey that followed the movements indicate that the behavior functioned to flush prey.”
Forwarded to VTBIRD list by,
From: Vermont Birds <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Sue Wetmore <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 13, 2020 5:47 PM
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: [VTBIRD] Migrating Hermit Thrush - ever notice this?
This behavior was observed as we walked the road into Lefferts Pond/Chittenden Reservoir parking. Swainsons and Hermit thrushes were abundant. Hermit shook a leg in the leaf litter.
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> On Oct 13, 2020, at 5:43 PM, Bridget Butler <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hi Kathy,
> YES! How exciting that you watched this unique feeding behavior. In my Slow
> Birding classes, I've been using a video clip of this from a friend who saw
> this in NY. Another birder friend in Milton this year saw the same thing
> and it helped her make the id as this is behavior attributed to only Hermit
> Thrushes in the thrush family so far.
> Me, I've yet to see it! But I did spot a Hermit Thrush in our yard
> yesterday who was quite animated, twitching its wings while perching, but
> alas, no foot quiver. I'll just have to keep noticing!
> Thanks for sharing your story!
> *Bridget Butler*
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>> On Tue, Oct 13, 2020 at 4:02 PM Kathy Leonard <[log in to unmask]>
>> My husband noticed two hermit thrushes sitting on a post and on a bare
>> rosebush in our yard just now.
>> One of them dropped to the ground and began rapidly shaking/vibrating one
>> foot in the grass and soon enough caught a bug for the effort. Its whole
>> body quivered with the effort. It repeated this leg vibrating technique a
>> half dozen times with little result and then both flew away. Perhaps this
>> is familiar to others here but I was delighted to both find them in the
>> yard and to glimpse this behavior.
>> From Cornell’s All About Birds-
>> “Hermit Thrushes sometimes forage by “foot quivering,” where they shake
>> bits of grass with their feet to get insects. They also typically begin to
>> quiver their feet as they relax after seeing a flying predator. Some
>> scientists think the quivering happens as the bird responds to conflicting
>> impulses to resume foraging or continue taking cover.”
>> Randolph Center, VT