A Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrasher

A Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) has started coming to our deck to eat some of the seeds we scatter there. The origin of the common name “Thrasher” is uncertain. It may derive from this species’ vigorous “thrashing” around among the leaves searching for food.

Despite their relatively large size and bold coloring, these birds are not easily observed. They tend to stay near the ground in thick bushes, and they frequently feed on the ground among the dry leaves. It is easy to recognize their song, however. It consists of musical phrases usually repeated two times before moving on to a new phrase. Their song pattern could be described in words as “Here I am, here I am, look up here, look up here, down there, down there”, and on and on through countless variations. The repertoire of phrases an individual male is able to sing is very large, perhaps as many as 2,000. This is one of the largest repertoires known for any bird. Many of the phrases are imitations of other bird’s songs. The song is similar to that of the closely related Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) except the mockingbird usually repeats its phrases three times, rather than two, and their repertoire of phrases is only about 250. So you can distinguish between the two by listening carefully.

If you want to hear the song of a Brown Thrasher, there are many internet sites where you can hear recordings I have put in a link below to one of their Brown Thrasher recordings. The recording will play in a new window or tab. To get back to this blog switch back to its window or tab. Here is the link from the Macaulay Archives at Cornell University




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