Brown Thrasher

Hey guys, welcome back! Today’s bird is the Brown Thrasher. At the end of last post, I mentioned that this is one of my favorite birds. It is, but I’ve noticed a trend. You may have to. All of my top favorite birds are similar to the Thrasher (some even related to it.) Grackle, Mockingbird, Catbird, Blue Jay… They are all kind of mean looking, and fairly aggressive, with a big attitude. Guess I got a type. The Brown Thrasher is one of half a dozen or so thrasher species in North America, but the only one found east of Texas. They are quite territorial and aggressive, being known to have on occasion attack humans, and pets with enough force to draw blood! Definitely a ferocious little guy, no wonder there used to be an NHL team named after them.

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Brown Thrasher, Forest Park, St. Louis, MO

Like the aforementioned Northern Mockingbird and Gray Catbird, the Brown Thrasher (and all thrashers) are all mimics, with their primary trait being their ability to mimic the songs and sounds of not only other birds, but even electronic sounds. It’s estimated that the Brown Thrasher can make as many as 1,100 different sounds! Pretty impressive! I love the Brown Thrasher, and I’ve seen a number of them both here in St. Louis, and back in New York. However, they tend to love very thick tangles of brush and thus aren’t very photogenic. In fact, you rarely see them out in the open. Judging by the slightly paler plumage, and not-quite-yellow eye, I’d guess the one in the picture above is a juvenile. Their behavior and plumage pattern is similar to most thrushes (hence sometimes being called “mimic thrushes”), but the bird itself is much larger, and lankier. They have bright, striking yellow eyes, a long, pointed, slightly downcurved bill, long tail, and a bright cinnamon-brown color.

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Brown thrasher, Citygarden, St. Louis, MO

I love spotting these ferocious, yet secretive mimics. It’s always a treat for me. I remember being surprised by their size the first time I saw one; they’re some of the lager birds you’ll encounter, outside of crows or raptors. Birds will always surprise you. Brown thrashers love thick-grown underbrush that they can hide in. But just a couple weeks ago, I was in Citygarden, a public sculpture park that’s only two small city blocks large, right in the heart of downtown St. Louis. There, I was shocked to see not one, not two, but three brown thrashers! I had never seen that many at one time before, and in the unlikeliest of places! Let that be a lesson; always be keeping an eye out for birds! With that, I’ll wrap things up for today. See you all next time when we head back to the water and talk about the Brant! Until then!


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