Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A New Bird and an Old Friend



I've been birdwatching from my yard for about six years. It's not surprising that in the last few years, I seldom spot a bird I have never seen. As you can imagine, it's quite a treat when I do see a new one. About two weeks ago, I spotted a bird I had never seen. Actually, Dave spotted it first. Luckily I had our camera handy. "Unluckily" the new bird landed near the garage that is undergoing some renovation. Not the prettiest background for a photo. I'm just thrilled to have seen it and gotten a picture.

According to my research, this new bird is a brown thrasher. It's related to the northern mockingbird and the gray catbird. It is much shyer than its more gregarious cousin the mockingbird. It forages for insects, especially beetles, and is often found overturning leaves in its search for dinner. It also eats fruits and nuts. The brown thrasher's habitat is mainly fields with scrub, thickets, and woodland borders. Its breeding range is from southeastern Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and the northeast of the US south to the southern part of Florida. It spends the winter in the southern part of its breeding range.

Like the red-winged blackbird, it is very protective of its nest. It is so fierce that it sometimes draws blood from people or animals that get too close to the nest. Brown thrasher chicks fledge at a very young age - 11 to 12 days! Another unusual characteristic is its call, which sounds like a large smacking kiss.

I didn't hear its call or observe much of its behavior. It landed on the old fence by the garage and, much to my surprise, stayed there for a good five minutes. Then it flew across the yard and high up into the oak tree before setting off again out of the yard.

Sometimes when I spot a new bird, I look through my bird journal to see what birds I may have spotted in past years. Six years ago to the day, I saw my first red-winged blackbird! Although they are frequent visitors, I have yet to get a really good photo of one of these beautiful but noisy birds.

12 comments:

storyteller said...

I enjoyed reading and responding to all your comments at Small Reflections. Thanks for taking the time to ‘catch-up’ in his manner. I’m hoping you check the little box to receive follow-up comments so that my comments show up in email for you. The awards look GREAT in your sidebar! I’m glad they fit ;--)

Watching birds is fun isn’t it … especially when ‘feathered friends’ are recognizable! I enjoyed the photos of both today.
Hugs and blessings,

Mountain Mama said...

Hello Tina and thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. I't always fun to meet now bloggers.
I read your profile and smiled. We seem to have a few things in common even if we do live in opposite corners of the USA.
I also do genealogy,and love birdwatching. I have seen a few new ones this year too. Yesterday a little sparrow landed on my window sill and just sat there looking at me. It was so cute.
I'll be back to visit you.

Tina Coruth said...

Storyteller,

I enjoy your blog! I didn't think to check the box. I will do that. I realize that I have been leaving an important part of the awards out -- I should be hilighting them in a regular post before posting them to the sidebar. :-( I will start doing that. :-)

Thank you for your kind words. I agree 100% - birdwatching is fun!

Hugs,
Tina

Tina Coruth said...

Mountain Mama,

We do have a lot in common! Genealogy and birdwatching are great hobbies, so much fun and so much to learn.

I just love it when a bird, like your little sparrow, stops to look back. Sometimes, I get the feeling that there are birds who enjoy "people watching"!

Thank you for stopping by - I appreciate your visit! :-)

Tina

Nonna said...

Thank you Tina for visiting my blog! Im enjoying my first grandbaby so much, as you can tell by my blog! Stop by anytime for a visit. I enjoyed reading your post about the birds! You have a really nice blog.

Renie Burghardt said...

Hi Tina,

I also enjoy bird watching. Well, animal watching, in general. :-)
Interesting post about the brown trasher. I don't believe I have seen one, but do have red winged blackbirds around. A pair of new birds around here this spring have been the Baltimore orioles. They are so pretty, but they drink all the hummingbird nectar! I have to refill them constantly. It's funny to see these large birds, (well, much larger than a hummingbird) drinking from the hummingbird feeders! But when I try to take a picture, they fly off. Maybe one day, I will be successful.

Thank you for an enjoyable article, and beautiful picture. Have a great weekend!

Hugs,

Renie

Tina Coruth said...

Nonna,

Your grandbaby is adorable! I enjoyed visiting your blog and I will be back.

Thank you for stopping by and commenting! :-)
Tina

Tina Coruth said...

Hi Renie,

Baltimore Orioles are so pretty! We see them around here from time to time, but they never stop for the hummingbird feeders. We've tried to entice them with oranges and grape jelly - but no luck.

They do seem to be very shy. Maybe one of these days they will be so intent on getting the nectar from the feeder that you will be able to get a picture. I hope so!!

I agree with you, animal watching in general is very enjoyable. You never know what you may see!

Thank you for stopping by. It's always great to see you. Have a wonderful weekend!!

Hugs,
Tina

Mary said...

Tina,

There is a bird that's been frequenting the area and I couldn't figure out what it was. I think it may be a brown thrasher. Are they making a comeback like many other bird species?

I used to see a lot of red-winged blackbirds when I was a child but due to DDT many bird species died out. Now they are reappearing. We have a lot of birds here this year including the eastern bluebird, robins galore, cardinals, bluejays, woodpeckers and more. They love my neighbor's yard. I really have to get more feeders and water out in ours.

The boys drew my attention to dozens of goldfinches. They fly and flit around their backyard and are very plentiful. We do have a few in the park and along the canal as well.

Glad you are meeting new friends as well as hold.

Blessings,
Mary

deborah wilson said...

Tina,

I haven't seen any red winged black birds in my area, but there are many regular blackbirds and crows. If you can get a good pic of these birds, I congrat you because it is very hard. I've been trying for over a year. They spook easily and will fly away at the least little sound. This fall, I'm thinking about hiding out in my truck, maybe then, if I'm real still, I can get a good pic.

Tina Coruth said...

Mary,

I'm not sure if the brown thrasher is making a comeback. They are rare around here - so I was especially lucky to spot it. We have lots of red-winged blackbirds. They hang around with the grackes and cowbirds. What a racket they all make! LOL

How wonderful that you have so many goldfinches! Once in a while, we will have a "flock" but usually it's two or three pairs. I bet the boys loved watching them!

Hugs,
Tina

Tina Coruth said...

Deborah,

I know what you mean about how easily spooked the red-winged blackbirds and their pals are. I like your idea - hide out in the truck so you can sneak up on them and get a photo!

Tina