Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2019-04

Common name:

Brown Thrasher

Scientific name: Toxostoma rufum
Date: 09 NOV 2014
Time: 08:15 and 13:45
Length of time observed: About 1 minute in the AM and about 1/2 minute in the PM.
Number: 2
Age: Adult
Sex: Unknown
Location: Utah
County: Grand
Latilong: 38.6499583,-109.4149876
Elevation: 4,576 feet
Distance to bird: Less than 10 yards
Optical equipment: 8x42 Nikon bins
Weather: Clear sky. Cold.
Light Conditions: Bright sun creating deep shade under brush
Description:        Size of bird: Medium-large songbird.
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Slim body, long tailed, strong legged.
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Rusty above, dark streaking on light underparts.
(Description:)            Bill Type: Strong, curved slightly down.
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Reddish-Brown upper parts including long tail. Heavy dark streaking on light underparts. Strong, slightly curved bill. The eyes light.
Strong legs. Horizontal posture on the ground.
Song or call & method of delivery: The birds were silent when I saw them. However, on recent outings to this location I had heard calls I didn't recognize. After seeing the birds, I consulted All About Birds and listened to the calls available there. The three different recordings were a good match to what I'd been hearing.
Behavior: Skulking in thick underbrush. Short low flight.
Habitat: Deep cut creek bottom, steep bank.Sagebrush and Rabbit Brush up on top. Dense trees and thick underbrush in the bottom. Small live stream runs year round.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Hermit Thrush much smaller, brown gray above, rust color only on tail, and spotted breast compared to streaked Brown Thrasher. Hermit Thrush also has stubby body shape and more upright posture on the ground.
Sage Thrasher is smaller, pale in color, and bill quite short compared to BRTH. I have not seen SATH in this habitat, or at this time of year anywhere in Grand County.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I am familiar with the Brown Thrasher from the years I lived and observed birds in Illinois. The BRTH is a nesting species there. Most recently I saw them in June of 2014, singing. I had not heard BRTH calling since 1980, hence my inability to ID the calls I heard previous to this sighting.
I see Hermit Thrush in this location, generally in Fall and Winter
I see Sage Thrashers in this area, not this habitat and not at this time of year.
References consulted: Golden Guide to Birds of NA
Cornell Lab All About Birds website for sounds.
Description from: Notes made later
Observer: Steve Heinrich
Observer's address: HC64 Box 2913 Castle Valley UT 84532-9613
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: None
Date prepared: 25 FEB 2019
Additional material:  
Additional comments: Saw 2 birds in the morning, then returned to the location in the afternoon and saw 1 bird.