Curve-Billed Thrasher On Cholla
I published some photos of Curve-billed Thrashers a couple of weeks ago and tonight, I’m posting two more. These birds are remarkably versatile. I took my previously posted photos in the foothills of the Baboquivari Mountains, where grassland turns into live oaks and junipers. I made tonight’s photos in Arizona’s agricultural flatlands, at a much lower and hotter elevation.
One doesn’t often see these birds out in the open. They love to inhabit the undergrowth under shrubby vegetation, where they forage in the debris. They are omnivorous, eating both insects and seeds, whatever is available. This bird was part of a pair that appeared to be building a nest in a Staghorn Cholla cactus. They did most of their work deeply concealed in the cactus’ arms but occasionally would pop out to surveil the surrounding terrain.
The long, downward curved beaks on these birds, coupled with their brilliant yellow eyes, give them a somewhat sinister look. Nothing could be further from the truth. These are truly innocuous songbirds.
They are closely related to Northern Mockingbirds, but unlike mockingbirds, they don’t mimic other birds’ songs. Rather, they have their own songs, songs that are among the longest, most musical, and most complex of any songbirds’ songs. If you hear this bird sing once you won’t forget it, its song is that pretty and distinctive.
Images made with a Canon 5Diii, 400 DO+1.4X Extender, aperture priority setting, ISO 800, f6.3 @ 1/2000.