In 1928, the school children of Georgia selected the brown thrasher as the state bird. Then Georgia’s governor, Eugene Talmadge, proclaimed the brown thrasher as the State Bird of Georgia in 1935. The Georgia legislature finally got around to recognizing it as the official State Bird 1970.
They are everywhere in our neighborhood, and what a treat they are. You’ll hear them singing in trees, in shrubs and from their perch on wires and poles. Sometimes they will sing for hours. Brown Thrashers, are mimics with extremely varied repertoires consisting of more than 1,100 song types, the largest repitoire of any bird. They are in the family Mimidae, which also includes the New World catbirds and mockingbirds. While mockingbirds tend to repeat phrases three or more times, Brown Thrashers typically sing phrases only twice before moving on.
The Brown Thrasher is an omnivore, with its diet ranging from insects to fruits and nuts. The usual nesting areas are shrubs, small trees, or at times on ground level. Brown thrashers are generally inconspicuous but territorial birds, especially when defending their nests, and will attack species as large as humans.
The Brown Thrasher is usually an elusive bird, and maintains its evasiveness with low-level flying. Thrashers spend most of their time on ground level or near it. When seen, it is commonly the males that are singing from unadorned branches.
The name is believed to have come from the thrashing sound the bird makes when digging through ground debris. It is also thought that the name comes from the thrashing sound that is made while it is smashing large insects to kill and eventually eat.
Brown Thrasher singing in a dogwood tree – Spring, 2016