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January 19, 2013 / Leslie

Weekend Birding: Brown Thrasher

The Brown Thrasher is a medium-sized song bird that can be found in the Eastern and Central US and parts of Southern Canada. Although they are fairly common, populations are declining slowly throughout their range. They like to hide in shrubby, dense cover near the ground and their song can often be heard before the bird can be seen. They can be difficult to find and, for me, almost impossible to photograph.

Brown Thrasher

I took this picture on a rainy day in September during migration. It’s not the greatest photo of a Brown Thrasher (the lighting was bad and I was too far away) but this has been the only opportunity I’ve had to get a shot of one.

Brown Thrasher

The image above is the entire frame at 250mm, which is full zoom on my lens. The bird is sitting in a fallen, dead tree and paused just long enough for one shot.

To get the closeup in the first picture, I cropped out just the bird and did a little cheating enhancing with photo editing software to sharpen and brighten the image. It’s not going to win any prizes but it does give you an idea of what this elusive bird looks like.

Brown Thrashers are migrants and travel north in the spring for breeding season. Some will remain in the southeast year-round.

You are most likely to see a Brown Thrasher at the forest edge near the ground when walking along wooded paths and hedgerows. I’ve seen them kicking around in the leaf litter under shrubs but generally they are secretive and hard to find. They don’t usually visit backyard feeders.

The Brown Thrasher is the state bird of Georgia and ironically when I visited Atlanta a few years ago it was one of the few birds I saw in the city. Since I was there on business, I didn’t have my camera with me.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books. Visit her blog to see more great photos or add your own.

© 2012 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.



Leave a Comment
  1. Brona / Jan 19 2013 1:55 am

    Well done for spotting it against the bare branches. Nice capture 🙂


  2. Louise / Jan 19 2013 1:56 am

    What a funny name! I must say I was expecting a much grander bird for a thrasher. It’s still a very attractive little bird. Birds can be so difficult to photograph, you did a great job with what you had.


    • Leslie / Jan 19 2013 8:09 am

      Yeah, birds are tough. Most don’t like to cooperate with the photographer. I was pretty excited when I found this one sitting still. If it had been moving no amount of editing would have helped.


  3. Mary / Jan 19 2013 5:28 am

    I can see why he’s difficult to photograph!


  4. Leeswammes / Jan 19 2013 5:28 am

    You must have been thrilled spotting this bird! Well done for realising he was special, too. He doesn’t look anything much. 🙂


    • Leslie / Jan 19 2013 8:06 am

      I was specifically looking for birds I had never seen in my neighborhood before, so yeah he was special. During migration almost anything can show up.


  5. laurelrainsnow / Jan 19 2013 6:13 am

    Wow, you have such a keen eye for the elusive ones…thanks for sharing! I do love the way the bird looks against the branches,



    • Leslie / Jan 19 2013 8:04 am

      It’s an acquired skill. I find them first with my binoculars, which see farther than the camera.


  6. BermudaOnion / Jan 19 2013 6:52 am

    I love your weekend birding photos and the information you share with us each Saturday.


  7. Elizabeth / Jan 19 2013 7:28 am

    Great shots. You are a good photographer.

    My Saturday Snapshot link is below.

    Silver’s Reviews
    My Saturday Snapshot


  8. Susan / Jan 19 2013 7:30 am

    What a lucky chance meeting! Isn’t it frustrating when you only get one chance and you’re dashing to get the shot? You managed though! Good job!


  9. Staci@LifeintheThumb / Jan 19 2013 8:29 am

    I didn’t realize that they were so hard to locate. I’m glad that you were able to get a shot of one!!


  10. Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count / Jan 19 2013 9:33 am

    I love bird photos!! Thanks for sharing these.


  11. Arti / Jan 19 2013 9:33 am

    According to the map, don’t think I’ll see the brown Thrasher in my neck of the woods. I live in Western Canada, Alberta. But these photos are more likely what I’ll see in my area when it’s overcast and my telelens goes up to only 200mm. Still learning to use my new camera, so won’t be buying more powerful lens. (thinking of a 300mm).


    • Leslie / Jan 19 2013 7:42 pm

      Probably not but you never know… birds don’t read maps and sometimes they go off course.


  12. Christine Harding / Jan 19 2013 10:35 am

    That’s a super picture, and what a wonderful name for a bird. My Snapshot is at


  13. Jackie/Jake / Jan 19 2013 10:37 am

    Great capture!! I was reading through your blog and have added The Aviator’s Wife to my TBR list.

    Thanks for dropping by and visiting.


  14. edgarone2 / Jan 19 2013 12:27 pm

    Beautiful bird. I have a few stuffed birds that sing when squeezed.

    My grandfather used to teach me when I was young boy how to imitate the bird calls.


  15. Alyce (@AtHomeWithBooks) / Jan 19 2013 12:58 pm

    Very neat that you were able to get a photo if it! That looks about the distance from my house to the trees at the back of my yard. I have a lens with the same magnification, and there are times when I wish I had one with a bit more zooming power.


    • Leslie / Jan 19 2013 7:38 pm

      Me too! But the longer zoom lenses go way up in price.


  16. Suko / Jan 19 2013 1:07 pm

    Very lovely photos, as usual. Thank you for this mini lesson on Brown Thrashers. 🙂


  17. Vicki / Jan 19 2013 4:42 pm

    Don’t think I’ve ever seen one. Great shot!


  18. Nise' (Under the Boardwalk) / Jan 19 2013 7:13 pm

    Glad you got the photo.


  19. lmkazmierczak / Jan 19 2013 7:27 pm

    Bird shots are amazing♫ One of these days I’ll capture a Cardinal yet! Happy week-end♥ Here’ my Sat Snap:


    • Leslie / Jan 19 2013 7:39 pm

      Cardinals are the toughest backyard birds to photograph. They are very shy.


  20. Diane@BibliophilebytheSea / Jan 19 2013 8:13 pm

    Terrific capture!


  21. McGuffyAnn / Jan 20 2013 5:28 pm

    I love the Thrasher! Thanks for this!
    McGuffy’s Reader


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