Monday, April 19, 2010

Backyard Brown Thrasher

I have a Brown Thrasher in my backyard again this spring. I've been hearing him singing for at least a week, but it wasn't until a few minutes ago that I actually spotted him in the backyard. Isn't this a handsome bird?
I really like Brown Thrashers! A few years ago I had a nesting pair in one of the evergreens in the backyard. I wouldn't even have known it, but happened to catch them flying in and out of the tree one morning. When I walked over to investigate the activity, I found the nest right at eye level and snug up against the trunk of the evergreen. There were 4 almost-ready-to-fledge youngsters in the nest and they just sat there like little statues as I pushed the branches aside to get a closer look at them.

I guess since Brown Thrashers like to forage for food on the ground, it found the shelled peanuts and suet I have out in the starling trap particularly appealing.
At one point, the thrasher was actually sitting on top of the trap and eyeing those peanuts down inside. The last thing I wanted was an angry Brown Thrasher caught in this trap, so after I quickly snapped this photo, I went out and closed up the starling trap (whew! disaster averted!)


Jayne said...

I don't see them that often here either Ruthie. Glad he did not decide to go into the trap!

KGMom said...

There are starling traps? What do you do with the caught birds? We have an overload this year of starlings and grackles. I am not wild about them--noisy, voracious, crapping birds.

Oh, yes, I do love the thrasher.

Mama Pea said...

What a pretty bird! Thanks for the pics. We'll probably never see one up our way.

Anonymous said...

I do enjoy the brown thrasher and all their songs. You are so lucky to have a nest full of them on your yard. It will be fun to watch them grow up and wait for the next nest full.


troutbirder said...

Neat! I've got to get TUNED in to this song identification method. A yard full last night, my hearing aid on full blast, and I couldn't find any except for a lone cardinal. Wondering if the local Audobon etc. has any spring outings planned?

stephen said...

He certainly is a very handsome bird. Wish we'd have such interesting visitors here.
(I've had to minimize my observations of winged visitors to the area as of late as it's made my neighbors a wee bit nervous seeing me in my yard with camera and binoculars at hand - but, have been enjoying here the assortment of songs this Spring)

Meggie said...

Quite handsome for sure, Ruthie! I'll have to check out my field guide to see if they visit my area.

Ruth said...

I have only seen these birds on Manitoulin Island, well north of us. Their "brown" is not plain and I think they are very handsome birds.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Jayne,
I wish they weren't so stealthy. I love watching them hop around in the backyard.

Hi Donna,
This is a sparrow/starling trap that I got when I first started trying to attract purple martins. Because our native cavity nesters are losing their nest sites to non-native house sparrows and starlings, any sparrows or starlings that I catch in the trap are dispatched. Grackles are native, so they get to live. I'm not wild about them either, but they usually only hang around here about 4-5 months.

Hi Mama Pea,
My Kaufman field guide shows them as a rare summer visitor up in the Arrowhead. Since you've got cardinals now, maybe the Brown Thrashers aren't far behind.....

Hi Mom,
It's really nice to hear them singing in the yard. This one was still singing last night when it was almost dark.

Hi Ray,
This time of year, I always take some time to review my bird call CDs. It's nice being able to see a bird for ID, but some of the more reclusive ones (like this thrasher) are usually seen before I ever spot them.
Here's the link to the ZVAS website where you can find a schedule of upcoming birding trips:

Oh Stephen, that's too bad your neighbors are getting paranoid! :-(
Maybe you'll have to invest in a pith helmet and multi-pocketed vest so people will realize you're a birder and not some creepy peeping Tom!

Hi Meggie,
Brown Thrashers are an eastern bird and summer resident in all of Pennsylvania. Here's a link for you to listen to the song so you can identify it on your morning walks:

Hi Ruth,
I definitely agree with you that they're handsome birds. I feel very fortunate to have them in my backyard.

Taos Sunflower said...

You always get the best pictures! Love Mr. Thrasher, yes, he is a handsome devil.