Exploring The Waste Land
A miscellaneous page linked from The Waste Land, Part V, line 357

Hermit Thrush
and the water-dripping song
Line 357

In the poem The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot are the lines:

Eliot's note for line 357 of The Waste Land is:

This is Turdus aonalaschkae pallasii, the hermit-thrush which I have heard in Quebec County. Chapman says (Handbook of Birds of Eastern North America) "it is the most at home in secluded woodland and thickety retreats. ... Its notes are not remarkable for variety or volume, but in purity and sweetness of tone and exquisite modulation they are unequalled." Its "water-dripping song" is justly celebrated.

The Song and Garden Birds of North America (1964 National Geographic Book Service) has this description:

Clear and flutelike, the haunting music of the hermit thrush floats through the twilight -- a serene benediction to the wilderness sunset. One after another the beautiful notes ring out in varied phrases, some high, some low, some blending in tremolo effects. The sweetest singer of his family, the hermit thrush is often called the American nightingale. ... Silent most of the time, he offers liquid cadences at dawn and dusk.

A web search I conducted for Aonalaschkae pallasii just brought up other The Waste Land pages. I revised the search by seeking out hermit thrush. The search brought up Catharus guttatus. However, I have a reference (1964) where the hermit trush is Hylocichla guttata. While I may have the wrong bird I think it is more probable that the hermit thrush has been reclassified and has had it scientific name changed over the years. It looks like it has gone from Turdus aonalaschkae pallasii to Hylocichla guttata, family Turdidae (thrushes) to Catharus guttatus, family Muscicapidae (gnatcatchers and thrushes).

The following information is from:
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Patuxent Bird ID InfoCenter

Hermit thrush information:

The information below is from a U.S government wildlife research center site and the links below connect to that site. Their site is framed and since my site is framed too I thought that would be too much for some browsers to handle. Thus I have written this page the wrap their information.

Although this is a government site the photographs (and probably the sound files too) are supplied by private individuals and are not in the public domain.

Hermit thrush description:

Hermit thrush
Catharus guttatus
Family: Muscicapidae (Gnatcatchers & Thrushes)

Patuxent Bird ID InfoCenter description (at http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/framlst/i7590id.html)

Hermit thrush photograph:

A 26kb .gif image file (126 X 210 pixels, 256 colors) at http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/framlst/photo/h7590p2.gif

hermit thrush gif

Download hermit thrush sound files:

SONG (20 seconds play time, interesting) CALL (9 seconds play time, not so interesting)

Patuxent Wildlife Research Center links:

See also my notes for the Thrush Nightingale on my Miscellanea page for line 203

External Links (shown in AUXILARY window):
Hints for using external links are available in the either the DEFINTIONS frame or this frame.


T 85 - Nightingale Thrush - New World

Exploring The Waste Land
File name: mq357.html
File date: Sunday, September 29, 2002
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