Brown Thrasher

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Mimidae
Genus: Toxostoma
Species: rufum

La. passer sparrow, small bird
La. forma form, kind, species
iLa. mimus mimic, actor
La. -idae appearance, resemblance
La. dumetum a thicket
Gr. toxon a bow (for arrows)
Gr. stoma the mouth (for the Thrasher’s curved bill)
La. rufus red, ruddy

Painting of brown thrasher perched among vine branches and green leaves.
Eleven to twelve inches long. Orange brown upper parts, darker wings with two short white bands. White underside with tiny black arrowhead spots in rows stretching front to back. Long downward curved bill. Long twitching tail. Yellow eyes.
USGS map shows brown thrashers generally inhabit eastern North America, west to the base of the Rocky Mountains.
Inhabits eastern North America, west to the base of the Rocky Mountains, throughout the Great Plains, north into Canada from Alberta to New Brunswick and south to the Gulf States.

Runs and hops along the ground. Forages for grasshoppers, crickets, spiders, beetles, ants and other insects on the ground. Also eats a variety of fruit.

Sings a flowing warbling song in the upper most conspicuous tree branches. Chases cats and dogs in the vicinity of their nests

The brown thrasher builds bulky nests of loosely assembled twigs, bark strips, leaves and roots lined with hair and feathers in low trees, bushes, vines, stumps, brush heaps and on the ground.

Females lay three to six, usually four or five white eggs, sometimes with a blue green tint.

Painting of a brown thrasher perched on a tree branch in typical tail up stance.
A USGS research center web site and an older version of an Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation brochure included Catbirds and Thrashers as users of platforms.

The original brochure said: “These birds will use the nesting platform when natural nesting sites are unavailable. The platforms should be placed in partial shade along main branches of trees or under the eaves of a shed or porch roof.”

In 1993, Catbirds and Thrashers were deleted from the brochure because of a lack of documentation.

However, Gilbert H. Trafton, the author of “Bird Friends”, 1916, recommended platforms open on all four sides for Thrashers, Catbirds and Song Birds. Just what experience this advice is based on is uncertain.

Try mounting the open platform low behind a bush on a wall or fence so the parents can approach the nest unnoticed, higher if predator cats may be about, amidst a vine covered wall would be ideal.

Chances are probably slim of attracting brown thrashers, catbirds and song sparrows to any particular shelf.

Another maybe better alternative is something similar to the concave shaped cups made of mesh some have made for blue jays. Attach corners to branches creating a trampoline effect and conceal in a bush. Use a net made from natural cloth material, not metal mesh.

Attract brown thrashers by growing blackberry, buckthorn, black cherry, choke cherry, dogwood, elderberry, wild grape, sour gum, mulberry, pokeberry, raspberry and false spikenard.

Song of the Brown Thrasher

Brown thrasher song transcribed to sheet music.

Home            Birds             Birdhouses            Birdhouse Plans Index        Bird Forum

Brown Thrasher

Painting of brown thrasher perched among vine branches and green leaves.
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Mimidae
Genus: Toxostoma
Species: rufum

La. passer sparrow, small bird
La. forma form, kind, species
iLa. mimus mimic, actor
La. dumetum a thicket
La. -idae appearance, resemblance
Gr. toxon a bow (for arrows)
Gr. stoma the mouth (for the Thrasher’s curved bill)
La. rufus red, ruddy

Eleven to twelve inches long. Orange brown upper parts, darker wings with two short white bands. White underside with tiny black arrowhead spots in rows stretching front to back. Long downward curved bill. Long twitching tail. Yellow eyes.

USGS map shows brown thrashers generally inhabit eastern North America, west to the base of the Rocky Mountains.
Inhabits eastern North America, west to the base of the Rocky Mountains, throughout the Great Plains, north into Canada from Alberta to New Brunswick and south to the Gulf States.

Runs and hops along the ground. Forages for grasshoppers, crickets, spiders, beetles, ants and other insects on the ground. Also eats a variety of fruit.

Painting of a brown thrasher perched on a tree branch in typical tail up stance.
Sings a flowing warbling song in the upper most conspicuous tree branches. Chases cats and dogs in the vicinity of their nests

The brown thrasher builds bulky nests of loosely assembled twigs, bark strips, leaves and roots lined with hair and feathers in low trees, bushes, vines, stumps, brush heaps and on the ground.

Females lay three to six, usually four or five white eggs, sometimes with a blue green tint.

A USGS research center web site and an older version of an Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation brochure included Catbirds and Thrashers as users of platforms.

The original brochure said: “These birds will use the nesting platform when natural nesting sites are unavailable. The platforms should be placed in partial shade along main branches of trees or under the eaves of a shed or porch roof.”

In 1993, Catbirds and Thrashers were deleted from the brochure because of a lack of documentation.

However, Gilbert H. Trafton, the author of “Bird Friends”, 1916, recommended platforms open on all four sides for Thrashers, Catbirds and Song Birds. Just what experience this advice is based on is uncertain.

Try mounting the open platform low behind a bush on a wall or fence so the parents can approach the nest unnoticed, higher if predator cats may be about, amidst a vine covered wall would be ideal.

Chances are probably slim of attracting brown thrashers, catbirds and song sparrows to any particular shelf.

Another maybe better alternative is something similar to the concave shaped cups made of mesh some have made for blue jays. Attach corners to branches creating a trampoline effect and conceal in a bush. Use a net made from natural cloth material, not metal mesh.

Visit the open nesting platform page.
Select to view or print the open platform plans.
Attract brown thrashers by growing blackberry, buckthorn, black cherry, choke cherry, dogwood, elderberry, wild grape, sour gum, mulberry, pokeberry, raspberry and false spikenard.

Song of the Brown Thrasher

Brown thrasher song transcribed to sheet music.

Birds     |     Birdhouses     |     Plans     |     Forum

Birds      |      Birdhouses      |      Forum