brown long-billed bird egg
fledgling and parental care
Brown Thrush Nesting FAQs
brown thrush (Toxoplasma red) is a large, enigmatic songbird from the Mimidae family, a group of birds known for their incredible vocal abilities. These birds reside in the Southeast, but migrate north to southern Canada to breed in spring and summer.
You might spot these swift thrush-like birds running from bush to bush as they feed, but have you ever wondered about their nesting behavior?
Male and female brown thrushes work together to build large, cup-shaped nests that can last for multiple seasons, although they are usually used only once. These birds prefer to nest in low, dense vegetation, sometimes even on the ground.
Female brown thrushes lay three to four eggs per clutch, and a second clutch when possible. These large songbirds are usually shy, but they can be very protective of their nests. They will raise chicks in backyards with suitable nests, but these birds should not be disturbed as they have been known to abandon nests.
Would you like to learn more about the nesting habits of brown thrushes? Read on to learn where, when and how Georgia’s state bird builds its nest and raises its young.
Nesting brown toucan protecting its nest in a bush
The nest of the brown longbill is not easy to find. However, more than 80 percent of their eggs and chicks are taken by predators such as snakes and house cats. Read on to learn more fascinating brown thrush nesting facts.
Where do brown thrushes nest?
Brown thrushes typically nest in dense, thorny vegetation that is protected from predators. They prefer to nest on thorny bushes such as gooseberries, but they also nest in small trees and bushes.
Do brown thrushes nest in the same place every year?
Only 20 to 30 percent of brownbirds return to the same breeding area after migration, although many nests can accumulate in suitable areas over the years. Individual birds are more likely to return if suitable habitat in the area is limited.
Thrashers occasionally reuse old nests after replacing them with softer linings. Their nests retain their shape and remain relatively clean throughout the breeding season. Still, a study in Kansas found that only four percent of nests in the region are being reused.
Are brown thrushes nesting in the backyard?
Brown thrushes occasionally breed in backyards, although their nests often go undiscovered. These birds will usually let you know if you get too close to their nest. Sometimes they even fly directly at animals and people!
Brown thrush sits on a nest among lush blueberry bushes
Do brown thrushes use nest boxes?
Brown thrushes do not use nest boxes. They like to nest in dense vegetation.
What tree do brown thrushes nest in?
Brown thrushes typically nest in bushes, but they can also nest in fairly tall trees. They often nest in the following plant species:
- Osage Orange
- american plum
How tall is the nest of the brown toucan?
The nests of the brown bill are usually relatively low to the ground. Most nests are built five to eight feet high in bushes.
Thrasher nests have been found more than 30 feet up in tree branches, and a small number of Brown Thrashers also nest on the ground.
Brown Thrasher gathers nesting material
What does the Brown Thrasher’s lair look like?
The nests of brown thrushes are large, shallow cups made of twigs and other dry plant material. The outside consists of larger branches, the middle layer has leaves, and the inner layer has fine roots, where they lay their eggs.
How big is a brown thrush’s nest?
Brown jays build relatively large nests. Typical nesting dimensions are listed below.
- high: 3.5 – 6 inches (9 – 15 cm)
- Outer diameter: Usually 5.5 – 7.5 inches (14 – 19 cm)
- the inside diameter of: 3.5 inches (9 cm)
- depth: about 2 inches (5 cm)
Closeup of a Brown Thrashers nest with five unhatched eggs
Like most American songbirds, brown thrushes begin nesting in the spring. They show slight regional differences in timing, with northern birds starting slightly later. Read on to learn more about brown thrush nesting times.
What time of year do brown thrushes nest?
Brown thrushes start nesting in the south from the end of March and further north in April and May. They will finish nesting before the start of fall in time for their southward migration.
How long do brown thrushes nest?
It takes brown giraffes about a month to raise a brood of chicks to fledgling age. However, the breeding season actually lasts from spring to fall, as they often attempt to breed more than once.
Brown Thrasher Nesting Schedule:
- nest: 2 – 8 days (average 4 days)
- lay eggs: 2 – 6 days (average 4 days)
- incubation: 10 – 14 days (average 12 days)
- fledgling: 9 – 13 days (average 11 days)
In what month do brown thrushes lay eggs?
Brown thrushes usually lay their first brood in April. They start laying eggs a day or two after completing the nest.
Where Do Brown Thrashers Nest in Winter?
Brown thrushes don’t usually nest in winter, although some pairs will begin nesting as early as late March in southern states like Alabama.
Brown long-tailed thrush perched on a tree near a nest hidden in dense foliage
How do brown thrushes build nests?
Brown thrushes build their nests from the outside in. Both parents gather material and work to build the nest. So how exactly do these birds build such long-lasting nests?
Brown thrushes build the main structure of their nests out of braided branches to hold everything together. Next, the outer layer is wrapped with leaves, roots, and twigs to shape the nest. Finally, they add soft, clean grass roots for a cozy inner lining.
Male and female Thrashers build nests together
What do Brown Thrashers use for nesting?
Brown thrushes build their nest shells from branches about a foot (30 centimeters) long and a quarter inch (6 millimeters) thick. They use softer materials such as leaves, thin strips of bark, and grass roots for the inner lining of their nests.
Brown thrushes also harvest material from old nests. On rare occasions, they will re-use old nests after refurbishing them with new liners.
Do male or female brown thrushes build their nests?
Both male and female brown thrushes help with nest building.
Brown thrush gathers twigs for nesting
brown long-billed bird egg
What do brown thrush eggs look like?
Brown thrush eggs weigh about 0.2 ounces (6 grams), are about an inch long and three-quarters of an inch wide (26mm x 19mm). Their eggs are shiny and have a white to blue base with red or brown spots. The widest end of the egg has the worst spots.
How many eggs do brown thrushes lay?
Brown thrushes usually lay three to four eggs, but they can also lay two to six eggs. Females lay one egg per day, usually in the early morning.
Do male brown thrushes sit on eggs?
The male brown thrush assists in sitting on the eggs, although the female does about 70 percent of the incubation.
Close-up of a brown long-billed bird egg
fledgling and parental care
When does the little brown thrush leave the nest?
Little brown thrushes usually leave the nest when they are eleven or twelve days old, with a difference of one day. At this age, they weigh only two-thirds of their adult body weight.
How many broods do brown thrushes have?
Brown thrushes typically keep one or two broods during the breeding season, although they may make as many as four nesting attempts after repeated failures. Within a week or two after the first brood leaves the nest, female Thrashers will produce a second brood.
A fledgling brown thrush visiting a bird feeder
Brown Thrush Nesting FAQs
Are brown thrushes abandoning their nests?
Brown thrushes typically do not reuse their nests, even if they are trying to hatch a second time. These birds can be surprisingly aggressive when defending their nests, but can also easily abandon them if disturbed early in the nesting process.
Do brown thrushes nest on the ground?
Brown thrushes usually nest in bushes, but a small number of pairs nest on the ground.
Where do brown thrushes nest at night?
One of the Brown Thrasher’s parents spends the night in the nest while the eggs are incubating or brooding. For the rest of the year, the birds spend the night under the shelter of vegetation.
How to Attract a Nesting Brown Thrush
Brownbirds can be attracted to your land by planting berry-producing shrubs and by stocking them with foods such as mealworms and suet. Planting a variety of lush shrubs and other native vegetation in your yard is a great way to encourage brownbirds to nest.
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Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.