A songbird in the same family as the mockingbird, the California Thrasher has an impressive repertoire of melodies. Not as boisterous or prevalent as the mockingbird, Toxostoma redivivum can be difficult to find. This species is only found in California and Baja California, they prefer chaparral habitat.
One spring Saturday we carved out time to search for a California Thrasher. We know a trail nearby where their melodious song can be heard every spring when they’re courting; and although we almost never see them, we can hear them. Shy birds and usually hidden in brush, they are known to be permanent residents in their territory.
They primarily eat insects and berries, and use that long, sickle-shaped bill to flip leaf litter around and dig in the soil. More info here.
That day we had a great hike and saw many birds, but the Thrasher never showed. Then the next day, as we sat on the deck relaxing, who shows up but the California Thrasher. In over ten years we had never seen or heard him on our property. But this particular day he stopped by, caught our attention, stayed perched while the binoculars came out, and then flew away.
If I didn’t know better, I might have taken this as a sign to never leave my chair.
Photo credit: Athena Alexander