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Brown Thrasher

Toxostoma rufum

  Delta Swamp and Cove Forest at River Journey

Brown Thrasher

These birds are in the same family as Mockingbirds, and like their relatives, they often run on the ground to escape danger, rather than fly away. They raise their tails when running. They are an extremely aggressive defender of its nest, which is in thick brush anywhere from the ground up to 14 feet above the ground and has been known to strike people and pets hard enough to draw blood (while defending their nest) - just protecting those babies.

Thier population is fairly stable, although it may be declining slightly due to changing landscapes in the Eastern US (shrublands maturing) and in the Great Plains (losing fence rows in farmland) and plant brush between fields which give the birds cover so they don’t have to cross miles of open land where predators can see them.

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About This Animal

SIZE  11.5 inches

RANGE  Midwest and Eastern United States and parts of southern Canada; common in summer here in Chattanooga, uncommon in winter

HABITAT  Likes brush, shrubbery, forest edges; often seen near human habitation

DIET  Insects, invertebrates, nuts, fruits; they are mainly foragers, searching through leaf debris on the ground for food and using their long beaks to toss aside the debris