Curve-Billed Thrasher On Cholla
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I’ve featured images of Curve-billed Thrashers in the past. These two images are particularly nice, however, so I’m going to do it again.
I was driving along a rural dirt road a couple of weeks ago when I noticed a Curve-billed Thrasher sitting on a cholla. It was a picturesque pose and so, I photographed the bird from the open window of my car. At the time I was parked about 20 feet away. Usually, that’s close enough to cause perching birds to fly, but this thrasher didn’t budge. I decided to approach the bird on foot. I exited my car and began walking towards the bird. The distance narrowed from 20 feet to 15, to ten, and eventually to five feet. Now, that is extraordinarily close and any self-respecting songbird should flee at that point.
Not this bird. It sat rock still. I took photograph after photograph and the bird held its position.
Of course, I wasn’t complaining. I was curious, however, as to why the bird didn’t fly. I looked for a possible nest in the cholla and saw none. Finally, after a couple of minutes more, I returned to my car. The bird was still on the cholla.
Curve-billed Thrashers are not aggressive birds. They love to forage for seeds and small insects on the ground and I consider them generally to be rather shy and timid. However, during breeding season they will often perch on tops of shrubs or low trees and sing. These birds have a marvelously complicated and melodic song. It occurred to me after this encounter that, perhaps, this bird had staked out the cholla as part of its territory during breeding season and was reluctant to cede control to a stranger, even to one many times its size.
Images made with a Canon 5Diii, 100-400mm ISII zoom lens+1.4x telextender, aperture priority setting, ISO 320, f8 @ 1/1250.