Animal Keeper

Animal Keeper Updates

Get a peek behind the scenes of the Aquarium’s Husbandry department. Read their weekly animal updates and get an insider’s look at caring for over 10,000 animals and plants.

ANIMAL UPDATES
BIRDS

Brown Thrasher

Toxostoma rufum


ON EXHIBIT:
  Delta Swamp and Cove Forest at River Journey

Brown Thrasher

FUN FACTS
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.

CONSERVATION
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