Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Brown Thrasher Takeover

Every year for the past five or so years there have been Brown Thrashers that have shown up, usually in mid-April, in the woods behind the house. They are very visible for about a month after they arrive and then they disappear for the most part when it comes time to start nesting and raising their chicks.

This year, in late May, I was greeted by a fuzzy Brown Thrasher fledgling sitting on the garden fence one day. I had seen them on occasion before, but little did I know the show was just about to begin.

Shot through the garden fence, hence the strange lines through the image.

For the next month, and still to this day, the four fledglings that I counted have decided to make the garden their hangout. It has been an interesting glimpse into the lives of these birds. I have been able to watch the progression of the parents working non-stop to feed them, to the female leaving it up to the male while she goes off to begin the next brood, to the young ones starting to forage for themselves, and eventually fending for themselves and taking to the trees.

Other than the long tail and fantastic song of the Brown Thrasher, they are known for their piercing yellow eyes.

I never realized until this year that the young ones start out life with blue eyes.

Of the four, it seems that three of them always stuck together while the fourth was off on it's own. It must have been the most well fed while on the nest as it became independent much sooner than the other three.

As of this writing there are only two still hanging around and they are chased by the parents whenever they have an encounter. Their eyes are still blue but it seems to be fading with each passing day. I've witnessed the adults gathering insects and flying off so I assume the second brood has hatched. I'm not sure if I'll get to witness the same show again but it has been an enjoyable experience and the young ones have been comical to watch, each seems to have it's own personality. The garden will seem empty when they are finally gone.


  1. Excellent captures and observations, Bill.

  2. You wound up with some very nice photos. As you noted, the thrashers seem to disappear as soon as they begin nesting. It's interesting how those loud, conspicuous birds can just vanish even though they're still present.