I find it fascinating that if I have a pair of catbirds in my yard one year, I will have a pair the next year. Like the swallows of Capistrano, they always return. And so it is with my pair of Brown Thrashers. They are among my loveliest backyard visitors.
Many confuse Brown Thrashers with Wood Thrush, and refer to a Thrasher as a Thrush. Not so. The Wood Thrush is slightly smaller with a shorter tail and black eyes.
My Brown Thrashers generally hang out near the fence in the back. I see them scooting along like feathered rabbits. They are incredibly quick. Thrashers, though, nest on or near the ground in thick vegetation and we have several bushes and shrubs in the back that fit that description.
Thrashers love to root around in the soil and leaves, uncovering worms and insects. They will also perch in shrubs and eat berries when available. We have a blackberry bush that draws their attention each July. Thrashers generally have two broods per year with an average of 3 to 4 pale blue eggs with brown markings.
Thrashers, according to the bird folks, have one of the largest documented song repertoires among all birds. They know and can hammer out over 1,100 song types. I find that impressive. The male uses a soft cooing song to court his partner, then defends his territory by belting out loud, melodious songs from high in the treetops,
While my resident Thrashers usually stay well in the back, I have seen them this year come closer to the house and on occasion hop up to the feeder with sunflower hearts. As I have often noted, a feeder with sunflower hearts (not seeds) will attract practically every bird there is.
Brown Thrashers are a bit migratory, heading south when winters bring discomfort. But, each spring, they always come home where they belong.