I often get asked what my favorite bird is. I always go to the brown thrasher. They are an introverted species, preferring to lurk inconspicuously in hedgerows and thickets. I have one that comes to my feeders; coming in quietly, feeding nervously underneath for brief periods before flying off into some Creekside brush. But when they have something to say they make sure they are seen and heard. I see them ascend to the tops of tall shrubs or small trees, in plain view, pouring out their characteristic song.
I think what I really find most pleasing about them is their proud humility. When they do leave protective cover to forage on my lawn, they do so with a cautious, yet stately strut. Brown thrashers are an attractive species. They are large birds, bigger than a blue jay, but appear sleeker. Russet on top with heavily streaked underparts, and a long russet tail.
They are the same shape as Northern mockingbirds and gray catbirds. Not unusual since all three are first cousins. They all are the Mimidae, or mimic-thrush family. As far as ability to mimic other bird songs, no one rivals the mockingbird, but some thrashers are expert mimics too. They just prefer their own song. Catbirds try really hard.
Thrashers are named for their habit of using their long, curved bill to sweep through leaf litter, exposing worms and other tasty invertebrates. They like vegetable matter too, they are big acorn eaters; using that strong bill to peel off the acorn covering to get the meat inside.
Brown thrashers are year-round residents in rural or urban residential areas. You can see or hear them along any of the greenways or in almost any park. See if you can spot one.