Yard species #101 — Brown Thrasher checking out the cracked corn under a feeder.
As their family name Mimidae suggests, they, along with Gray Catbirds and Northern Mockingbirds, mimic other birds’ songs. You can tell them apart by song pattern: the Mockingbird repeats his borrowed phrases at least three times and to my ear is the most accurate imitator, while Catbirds sound like an entire flock of random birds and a cat are in the same thicket. Thoreau suggested the twice-repeated songs of the Thrasher sounded like advice to a farmer: “While you are planting the seed, he cries — ‘Drop it, drop it — cover it up, cover it up — pull it up, pull it up, pull it up.'”