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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!!!!