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Monday, January 26, 2009

Brown Thrasher in our Yard


In late August of 2008, I saw my first Brown Thrasher. I was amazed at his LONG beak and his long tail... We took his picture (above) and I immediately started searching to find out which bird he was. Since he is so different-looking, it didn't take me long to find out that he was a Brown Thrasher.
I learned that Brown Thrashers are the state bird in Georgia! They are brown or reddish-brown, with a white breast and throat streaked with brown, and two white bars on each wing. He has a long tail, and his beak is relatively large and somewhat curved. Adults average about 11.5 inches in length. He's definitely a bigger bird than many in our yard!
This bird prefers thickets and heavy brush, often searching for food in dry leaves on the ground. In fact, he is more likely to be heard than seen, not only because of the rattling of leaves, but also because of his call, a sharp lip-smacking type sound. The Brown Thrasher eats insects, berries, nuts and seeds--as well as earthworms, snails and sometimes lizards.
The female lays 3 to 5 eggs in a twiggy nest lined with grass. The nest is built in a dense shrub or low in a tree. Both parents incubate and feed the young. These birds raise two or three broods in a year. They are able to call in up to 3000 distinct songs The male sings a series of short repeated melodious phrases from an open perch to defend his territory and is also very aggressive in defending the nest.
Although this bird is widespread and still common, it has declined in numbers in some areas due to a loss of suitable habitat. I feel privileged to have seen this gorgeous bird ---and to even get his picture!!!!
After realizing what he was, I saw many Thrashers in our yard the next few weeks. Even a juvenile Brown Thrasher (below) came on our deck once --searching for food that had dropped from the feeders. I took the young Thrasher's picture on Sept. 6--and by Sept. 15th, the Brown Thrashers were all gone. I assume they went back to Georgia (or farther south) for the winter. I do hope they come back to visit us this coming summer!! They are beautiful birds.






Isn't this little guy precious??? Look at that long beak! I'm sure his Mama was telling him that he's not supposed to be 'this' close to our house!!!!

42 comments:

Darla said...

We see these birds around here too, North Florida, is closer to Georgia huh? Hey, trot on over to http://mawdot.blogspot.com you may already visit her, I don't know, she posted some great photos of the mountains and some FALLS! Just click on Counting My Blessings in my bloglist, hope you enjoy it!

Mildred said...

I've seen several of these lately in our yard. I'll be sure to tell them to stop and visit with you this Spring!

Kallen305 said...

I have never seen one before and am hoping to see on this summer. Lucky your for having it in your yard!

Jayne said...

I like the Thrashers too Betsy. We'll have one occasionally at our tree line in the back.

Peggy said...

I have seen a few here in our yard. This winter there has been very few birds which is strange as they normally hang around the feeders all winter.

fishing guy said...

Betsy: Very nicely done with all the info on the bird.

Bird Girl said...

Brown thrashers are such neat birds - and for their size they sure MOVE a lot and are difficult to photograph! Thanks for posting these pictures and for the good info, Betsy!

~Vanessa~ said...

My goodness you have done your research! To get pics of these birds such as you have is truly amazing. Ok, come spring I am planning a trip to Fairfield Glade!

Tina said...

Betsy,
Great info on the Thrasher. I, too, saw my first one last fall and yes they do have quite a bill!! Your close ups are great..I wasn't able to get that close..before he took off to the skies!!

Cedar ... said...

That poor little guy/gal looks like the weight of its long beak is causing it to lean forward!

Smilingsal said...

You really get some good shots!

Susie said...

When we lived in GA we use to see them all the time. The first time I saw one I had no idea what it was. They are very pretty to me and if you watch them you'll see why they are called thrashers.

Shellmo said...

He does have quite the tail and beak! Handsome fellow! Tell him he can come visit me in Michigan too!

Busy Bee Suz said...

How cute...I think I have seen these recently...like, this morning. Do you think they come this far south? I keep seeing something that looks like him in my neighbors yard...about 5 of them and they are constantly moving, eating out of the ground. very cute.

Jen said...

You have quite a variety of birds visiting you!

Small City Scenes said...

Great shot of the Brown Thrasher. Sweet baby, too. I don't believe we have Thrashers out this way. the book says NO.

My Mother is 93 and still going strong. All her sisters lived into their 90s and were fairly healthy to the end. Just old age got 'em. I may have to read the book you posted. MB

Jackie said...

Betsy, there aren't many birds left up here in PA except the nuisance ones that can survive the winter, but I'm thinkin if I keep reading your blog, I'm gonna be set this spring and maybe at least have a good conversational knowledge of the birds I see, or at least make it appear as though I know what I'm talking about, lol

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

I look forward to the return of the Brown Thrashers every year.Their song is amazing as well.
Blessings,Ruth

Mary said...

I think the Thrasher is a wonderful bird to see! The young ones are so awkward looking compared to their beautiful parent's. The first young one I saw was sitting on a branch squawking away to be fed and so unruly and silly looking :-) They stop here in the spring.

This Country Girl said...

Betsy,

I'm pretty sure I've seen one of these before in our yard! You've rekindled my interest in birds. As spring nears, I think I'm going to bring out the binoculars near the kitchen bay window and Joy and I will do a unit study on birds. I may be calling on you for help. My mom and dad love bird watching as well and daddy knows quite a bit about different birds too.

Have a great week, Betsy!

(I didn't realize you were such a musical gal....music is such a big part of our lives too!)

Tammy

Diane said...

Thanks for sharing your pics of the Brown Thrasher. You have so many different birds than we do.

Connie said...

I'm going to start watching my back yard for a Brown Thrasher. Thanks for all the info. It's a fun way to learn. Great photo's. Getting pictures of birds is so difficult and you've got some really good ones.

Cassie said...

Thrasher is one of my family names on my father's side.Think we're related? haha. Really,you do such a nice job with your photos. About the last post: how cool that you can get by without having to take drugs.They are such an expense and as we get older,the price seems to increase. Watch that BP though. If it gets & stays high it can be a killer.

Neal said...

You lucky girl....you always manager to get some good shots.

BTW, we're suppose to get 4-6 inches of snow between tonight and Wednesday morning. I wish I could send it all down to YOU. :)

Smilingsal said...

Betsy,

Please tell me what camera you use--make and model. I want to get a new one that will help me take sharp close-ups.

smilingsal55 AT yahoo DOT com

bookbabie said...

He's very pretty, that brown (sienna) in his feathers was one of my favorites when I was painting:)

Gill - That British Woman said...

Never seen one of those birds, they probably don't fly north?

Gill in Canada

Rose said...

He is precious, and it has been so long since I seen one in real life. We seen them in Tennessee, but I cannot remember if I have ever seen one in Indiana or not.

dot said...

I'll be on the look out for them here. Interesting post!

ShabbyInTheCity said...

Just like a mama! We aren't so different from birds and animals...and we can learn from them too...although I don't really want to eat worms...

Betty said...

Hi Betsy,

Some interesting facts about the Brown Thrasher. I did not know most of this about that particular bird. Ed (my hubby) and I love to watch the birds. We feed them in the winter. If we get that ice tonight then they will definitely need it, so hubby filled up the bird feeder late this afternoon.

I figured out how to make a copy of my sidebar to save before I make any more changes to my blog. Thanks for your help.

Have a good week. Are you all expecting ice tonight? I believe I saw it in your forecast, but I hope I'm wrong about that.

Pigeon said...

I've never seen a brown thrasher before. I wonder if they come up north enough for me to see one.

FIONA said...

Great pix, and I learned something new.

Thanks for putting this up.

ramblingwoods.com said...

Thank you for the info as I have not seen one yet and YES..the young one is sooo cute...

lola said...

What a lovely bird. I think that is what I have in my yard. But they are here much later in the yr. I don't know if they will return as the neighbors cut the thicket down where they stayed. Seems I remember they like to run around on the ground a lot--not much flying.

The Incredible Woody said...

I learn so much every time I visit here. I'm going to be a birder in no time!

Leedra said...

He was just checking you out.

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Betsy from Tennessee said...

Darla-- Thanks.. I did check out Dorothy's blog. There are LOTS of waterfalls out west---and we haven't gotten out there yet.

Mildred--Well--since they are Georgia's bird, you had better have them!!! ha

Kallen-- I hope the Thrashers come back this spring. There were LOTS of them around toward the end of Summer.

Jayne--I'll bet you have alot of them around --since their primary home is in GA.

Peggy-- I've heard some others talk about not having many birds in their area this winter. It's hard to know... IF there are cats around, that may make a difference. I really don't know.. Hopefully, they'll come back in spring.

Thanks Tom... When I first saw a Brown Thrasher, I had no idea what it was. I had to look him up. I hope they come back in spring.

Barb--They are not supposed to come to the feeders ---so when that baby came, I'm sure his Mama was upset with him. Aren't the little ones strange looking with those long beaks????

Vanessa--I have 'studied' quite a bit since last summer---learning what birds they are. I still have alot to learn--but I'm improving. Come to Fairfield Glade ANYTIME!

Tina--Well--I was lucky getting pictures. That little one was on our deck.. They don't normally come to the feeders --and enjoy eating on the ground. They are also known to really 'thrash.' Hope they come back here this spring.

Cedar--Yes, the little one is strange looking for sure with his long beak!!!! He needed to grow into his beak and tail. HA!

Sally-- Thanks!!! I sent you an email about the camera.

Susie-- The Thrasher is hard to photograph since they are always 'thrashing' around!!! I just got lucky with the camera. AND --having that little guy on our deck was quite a surprise!!! Bet his Mama was mad at him!!

Shelley--Yes, he does have a long tail and beak... When I first took his picture (the bigger one), I had to work hard to find out what bird he was. Then I saw the baby on our deck. Amazing, huh?

Suzanne--I'll bet they are vacationing in Florida for the winter. I don't blame them at all!!! Who wouldn't want to be there??????? They won't come to feeders --but choose to eat off of the ground.

Jen---Since last summer, we have had alot of birds in our yard. I still prefer the ones who come to the feeders regularly. Can't wait 'til spring --since I hope some of the others will come back.

MB-- I don't know how far west they go---but I think they are mostly an eastern bird. But--aren't they pretty???? Glad you have good genes in your family also. I think you'd enjoy that book.

Jackie-- I'll admit that I didn't know too much about birds until the bluebirds came to nest in our yard last summer. Then I started studying and learning. AND--I've come a long way baby!!! There are still many things I don't know---but I'm willing to read and learn. Join me this spring and we'll learn together!

Ruth-- So you have them in your area. I wasn't sure how far west or north they went. I don't think I heard their song---or recognized it last summer. I was just excited to get pictures of them...

Mary--Yes, the little guy was kinda strange looking, wasn't he??? He needed to grow into his beak!!!! ha.. Can't wait to see them again.

Tammy--- I'm still learning myself. I'll try to help you when spring comes.. The best thing is to try to get pictures --and then you can go online (or buy some bird books) to find out which bird it is. About Music, I was a Voice Major in college and taught high school choral music for several years. Then I had some vocal cord problems and haven't been able to sing since--except in the shower!!! ha

Hi Diane-- We are lucky to have lots of different birds --especially in spring/summer/fall. Right now, we don't have too many around. Well---I guess that isn't true since we get about 10 different varieties NOW at the feeder. Guess we're lucky!!! It helps living in and near the woods.

Connie--Wait 'til Spring Connie.. The Thrashers have gone south for the winter (smart birds).. It does take patience to get good pictures... AND--you have to take alot of pictures to get good ones!!!

Cassie--Well, maybe they named that beautiful bird for your Dad's family!!!! Ya think???? ha ha... Yes, I am lucky to have been quite healthy all through the years. I did have a scare in 2004--and that's when I started studying about good health--and what I needed to do. So far, so good... Thanks!!! (My BP and cholesterol are both fine right now!)

Neal---Welcome Home!!!! Hope you enjoyed your FL vacation. Send pictures!!!
HA--isn't it ironic that you are supposed to get heavy snow NOW... Bet you wished you had stayed in FL a little longer!!! LOL

Sally--I sent you an email about the cameras we use.

Lilli-- You are such a talented lady. I couldn't paint my way out of a bucket... I always admire those who can. The Thrasher is a gorgeous bird!

Gill---I don't know how far north they go.. Ruth (who is somewhere in Canada) has them.... SO---I'm not sure!!!!

Rose--I bet you have them--but I'm not sure. You'll have to look when spring/summer gets here. They won't come to the feeders--but choose to eat on the ground.

Dot--Thanks!!! I'll bet you have them NOW since they are in the south in the winter... Start looking for him!!!! You'll recognize him by his long beak!

Phyllis-- Yes, we can learn from the birds and other animals. This afternoon, we saw more deer out back---and one of them had to scratch the back of another one. I thought that was just so cute!!!

Betty--I didn't know much about birds either until last summer. Then I started reading everything I could...BUT--there's still much more to learn. I think we're hopefully going to miss the ice this time. You all are on the edge--and it will go north and east from there. (At least I HOPE.) I pray the you don't have much!

Pigeon--I don't know how far north or west the Brown Thrashers go. I think they are more of a southern bird---but I don't know that for sure...

Hi Fiona, Glad you learned about our Brown Thrashers. Birds are just so interesting.

Michelle--I'm not sure how far north the Thrashers go... They are definitely here in the south in the summer.

Lola- Yes, the Brown Thrashers stay near the ground. And they like thickets and bushes to be nearby. Hope yours comes back this spring/summer. I'm looking forward to seeing ours again also.

Woody--Yes you are!!! You and I can be Tennessee Birders together... I'm still learning myself, but it's alot of fun!!!

Hey Leedra... What you been doing today????? I think we're going to escape the ice that west TN is going to get. Yeah-Rah!!! Yes, that little Thrasher was definitely checking us out!!! I'm sure his Mama spanked him!!! ha

Sioux said...

I believe the first one I saw was also in Tennessee. Love our birds. We put out a new branch with holes for peanut butter, and the woodpeckers are going wild!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh Sue---You are being SO good to your birds. Those woodpeckers love that peanut butter. And it's good for them. I have suet (that I bought) and they'll eat that also.

Have a good evening.
Hugs,
Betsy

Daisy said...

Interesting information and great photos, Betsy. I always learn something at your blog. :D

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Thanks Daisy... I enjoy studying the birds---and learn something new myself most every day.