Friday, June 21, 2013

Brown Thrasher

A Brown Thrasher can be common and rare at the same time.  Rare because they are so secretive.
I rarely see one.

The Brown Thrasher is a ground-hugging bird of the thicket.  They have no interest in meeting you and stay hidden as you pass by.   You have to look closely to find a Brown Thrasher.  If you're lucky, you'll find one that hasn't found you first. 

I was lucky and snuck up on this one.

Hopping along the path at Lion’s Den Gorge, this Brown Thrasher didn’t see me coming over a rise.  Thinking he was alone, his attention was directed elsewhere.  He was aware he was exposed on the path, but somehow didn't notice me.

Thrashers, as a family, get their name by ‘thrashing’ through leaf litter looking for worms, grubs, beetles and the like.  Sweeping the forest floor with sideways bill motions, they uncover their creepy, crawling meals while safely hidden, although an attractive arthropod could lure him out into the open.

Brown Thrashers build their nest close to the ground, making them accessible to nest predators like snakes, woodland mammals and domestic free running dogs. 

When I moved he turned a yellow eye towards me…saw me...flew into a tree. We played ‘cat and mouse’ through the leaves for a while, then he realized there was nothing in this encounter to benefit him, so he left.  I could have spent a lot more time observing this bold and beautiful bird, but that wasn’t an option. 

He made a rare appearance to me…my first Wisconsin Brown Thrasher.  I'm glad he allowed me a brief encounter.  I wish this 'rare' bird would become an even more common sight.