Thrasher, Toxostoma redivivum
Although the California thrasher is fairly
nondescript, it is
one of my favorite birds. (His nose does give him away.) It has the
most charming personality, and is captivating to watch. The California
Thrasher has a beautiful song which in the spring it can be heard
throughout the chaparral in California. And of course no one can forget
that beak. It looks like a hay thrasher, hence the name.
The California Thrasher is found
throughout California in the chaparral plant communities.
Diet of the California Thrasher
The California thrasher has quite an
adaptation for feeding. If you can't spot it, you need glasses. The
beak of the thrasher is long and curved and excellent for digging
around in the leaf litter for food.
California thrasher eats insects, spiders and other invertebrates it
finds in the mulch. They also eat berries, fruits, acorns and seeds. In
our garden one of their favorite plants is the golden
current. It is covered with small red berries that turn black when
they have ripened. The branches droop down low to the ground and the
thrasher will pluck them off. They also love Toyon, Heteromeles
arbutifolia . This is a
tall evergreen shrub with holly like berries.
California Thrasher will also use the bird
The California thrasher likes to
nest in dense shrubbery.
communities used by the California thrasher
The California thrasher prefers
chaparral but will also use neighboring riparian or oak woodland
The California Thrasher does not
The California Thrasher is quite
adept at filtering through the leaf litter.
How to attract the California
thrasher to your garden
California Thrasher likes leaf litter and berries. It does not like
cats for obvious reasons. This bird spends most of its time on or near
the ground, making it very susceptible to cats. Golden
Current is an excellent choice if you want to attract thrashers.
It forms a small and attractive thicket. It is covered with yellow
flowers in the spring which are utilized by many insects as well as
hummingbirds. Later, in spring, that mass of flowers turns to a mass of
berries. These berries are not only edible but quite tasty. The
California thrasher thinks so to. They are also fond of Toyon
Berries. Toyon is a large evergreen shrub with bright red berries
around Christmas time. Mahonia nevinii
is also very popular with the California Thrasher. This
is a prickly evergreen shrub with gray foliage, showy yellow flowers,
and reddish-orange berries.