Bird #446 — Long-billed Thrasher

toxostoma (from toxon, bow, and stoma, mouth, referring to the bill) longirostre (from longus, long, and rostris, beak)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 — 9:03 am

San Antonio, Texas — San Antonio Botanical Garden

Like I said, the guy in the visitor center made me copy down the bird list and sent me toward the woods. I was just approaching the area when I heard a bird making a repeated “chat” noise in a small tree. It was a Long-billed Thrasher, another south Texas specialty. It looks a lot like the Brown Thrasher, but is darker brown with grayer cheeks and blacker streaks on its chest. I walked around the tree trying to find a good angle for a photograph while it stared at me with its bold orange eyeball.

Long-billed Thrasher

It was finally chased out of the tree into the woods by two Northern Mockingbirds that took exception to its presence. I didn’t see it again for a couple hours, but then my sister and I happened upon it just inside the woods very close to where I first saw it. The thrasher was under a bush demonstrating how it got its name (the “thrasher” part, not necessarily the “long-billed” part, although it was using its bill to … oh, never mind). It was still doing this when I left, just further back in the bush where I could hear but not see it.

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