Georgia State Bird

Brown Thrasher

Georgia state bird: Brown Thrasher Toxostoma rufum

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Georgia State Bird Description:

  • Size: 9 to 12 inches (23-30 cm)
  • Wingspan: 11 to 13 inches (29-32 cm)
  • Weight: 2.15 to 3.14 ounces (61-89 g)

The Brown Thrasher is reddish-brown on the top and white or buff with black streaks underneath. The long, rounded tail is also reddish-brown. The wings are rather short with two whitish wing bars. The most prominent feature is its yellow eyes. The female's markings are similar to the male's.

Habitat:

The Brown Thrasher breeds in thickets, open woodlands with bushy undergrowth, shelter belts and trees, near rivers and suburbs. It winters in hedgerows, gardens, thickets and brushy woodland edges.

Range:

Can be found in the winter from southern Missouri to southern New Jersey, southwards to the Gulf coast from central Texas to Florida. The breeding territory ranges from the Gulf coast to southern Canada, southeastern Alberta and from eastern Montana to New England.

Diet:

The Brown Thrasher feeds on insects (especially beetles), berries, nuts and seeds, as well as earthworms, snails and sometimes lizards. It is diffucult to attract these birds with birdseed. The best way is to use a ground level platform feeder filled with black-oil sunflower seeds, nuts and fruits.

Nesting:

Brown Thrashers will build their nest 2 to 7 feet above the ground in a protected location. The nest can usually be found in dense shrubs or a dense tangle of vines (especially with thorns). The bulky, cup-shaped nest is made of twigs, lined with leaves with an inner lining of rootlets. Both the male and the female work on nest construction.

The clutch will contain 2 to 6 eggs and incubation takes 11 to 12 days. A Few Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Georgia State Bird:

  • An aggressive defender of its nest, the Brown Thrasher is known to strike people and dogs hard enough to draw blood.
  • The Brown Thrasher is considered a short-distance migrant, but two individuals have been recorded in Europe: one in England and another in Germany.
  • Populations of Brown Thrashers are in decline, because of shrubby habitat loss in eastern North America. This species is still widespread, and its geographic range has extended in all directions during the last century.
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