Monday, May 19, 2014

Brown Thrashers: Hide & Seek

In February, I spotted this bird as it perched upon winter branches near the huge Azalea tree.  I didn't know what species of bird it was so I had to do some research.  He (or She) is a Brown Thrasher, the only Thrasher bird species located east of Texas.  

I didn't see anymore Brown Thrashers until a couple weeks ago.  A pair of them were foraging through weeds and brush near the forest line.  Males and females are similar in appearance so I'm uncertain as to which one is which.  Since this is a pair, they're probably together for breeding season and they'll nest in the brush along the edge of the woods.  

Brown Thrashers spend most of their time near or on the ground, walking, running, or hopping. When disturbed at the nest, they drop to the ground and dart into dense cover. They feed by sweeping their long bills through leaf litter to uncover insects and other invertebrates. They are slow, short-distance fliers with a distinctive jerky, fluttering flight style. Brown Thrashers are monogamous during a breeding season, but it isn’t known whether pairs stay together from year to year. They breed in such dense vegetation that little is known of their courtship; the few observations that exist suggest that a courting pair presents each other with twigs or dead leaves, after which the male may briefly chase the female before mating. They defend territories of variable size, and they are very aggressive toward intruding Brown Thrashers and toward potential nest predators, which include snakes (racers as well as garter, king, rat, bull, and milk snakes) and dogs. Sometimes Brown Thrashers strike predators with their bills hard enough to draw blood.

I found it interesting that Brown Thrashers are accomplished songsters that may sing more than 1,100 different song types and include imitations of other birds, including Chuck-will’s-widows, Wood Thrushes, and Northern Flickers.  

Sweet music- reminds me of the Mockingbird songs...

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