Skinny the Thrasher

Not Quite So Skinny Skinny

The last thing we expected when we impulse-bought a bird block at Costco was that we would save the life of an orphaned thrasher.

When I first spotted him tearing into the block, my first thought was “That’s the skinniest bird I’ve ever seen!”  My second thought was “Could that be a thrasher?  It’s too small!”  But the bright eye and the distinctive curved beak were visible, as was the energy and enthusiasm that we’d noticed in the pair of thrashers that had frequented our yard for some years.

That’s when I realized that we hadn’t seen “our” pair for a while.  Curve-billed thrashers nest relatively close to the ground on cactus or in shrubs.  It seemed possible that a predator – for example, a roadrunner – had taken out the entire family except for this one young survivor.

Skinny’s determination to get enough to eat overcame any shyness he felt about living so close to humans.  After a while, he would only make a token retreat when we came in or out of the front door – usually up into the branches of the ash tree that the bird block is under.  After a while, he took to greeting us when we came home.  Or he’d come over to watch from a safe distance what we were doing when we were working in the yard.

This spring, when I was weeding, Skinny perched on the peak of our roof and started making a variety of very conversational sounds.  When I looked up, he posed and then started up again.  Clearly he was saying “Don’t we have a nice yard?  I really like it.”

Thus far, Skinny has not established a family.  He (courtesy pronoun; thrashers are  not markedly sexually dimorphic) hasn’t seemed to welcome any of the other thrashers we’ve seen coming through.  However, he’s far from lonely.  He shares our front yard with any number of sparrows, finches, and doves.  He doesn’t seem to mind the quail or robins, even though they’re closer to his size, eat similar diets, and so could be considered competitors.

The one co-resident of our little bit of wild kingdom Skinny does resent is PF the cottontail rabbit.  As noted elsewhere, PF enjoys foraging from the bird block.  While Skinny is happy to share with the other birds, he does mind PF.  The other day, we watched from our front window while Skinny sulked, making occasional darting forays at the bird block in an attempt to get PF to move along.

So far, it hasn’t worked, but somehow I don’t think Skinny is going to give up!

4 Responses to “Skinny the Thrasher”

  1. Beverly Martin Says:

    Wow! That’s a bit of info on the road runner that they leave out of the Wily E. Coyote cartoons! Good luck, Skinny, in the battle with the rascally rabbit!

  2. Dawn Barela Says:

    Roadrunners are active hunters. I was at Cost Plus World Market on Menaul and I saw a roadrunner with a lizard almost as big as it was. It slammed the lizard into the ground really hard a couple times. It was definitely dead by then. Mike has had some up in the tree in his front yard too. There is a bunch in his neighborhood.

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