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A few of weeks ago, when a number of birders were visiting my yard to see
the hummingbirds, one birder commented on my Curve-billed Thrasher. I
assured her that it was just a Brown Thrasher as I'd had a pair around for a
month or so. She repeated that the bill was "noticeably" curved. I don't
recall if we looked it up in a book at that time or not but I believe she
said it looked otherwise like a Brown Thrasher. The only other option would
be a Long-billed Thrasher. My research could only come up with a couple of
reports in the state with neither confirmed.

I had commented around the time that the mornings sounded very "tropical
rainforest like" with the thrasher singing and the parulas, cardinals,
wrens, etc. doing theirs as well. I'm not sure how to describe the thrashers
song but it had a specific quality to it that sounded like a bird calling in
the vastness of a rainforest. Around that time, I noticed two Brown
Thrashers moving quietly in the lower part of an oak in the back while a
third sang loudly at a peak in the top of the tree. The lighting wasn't good
but it appeared to have a very contrasting white below with dark streaks.
The angle did not allow me to see the bill or eye color.

I recently noticed that the thrasher's song does not have the quality I was
hearing earlier. It's very clean with noticeable pauses. I'm only seeing two
thrashers now. I decided to listen to the two thrashers songs on my Thayer's
Birds of North America CD. The song of the Brown Thrasher sounds like what
I'm currently hearing and the song of the Long-billed Thrasher has the
quality that I was hearing. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell you what pattern
of "phrases" the bird was singing.

I'm not about to assume such and ID based on second hand information and a
sort-of remembered song, but I am curious, for future reference, if this
"quality" of song could be a distinguishing characteristic between these
species. I realize that birds have many slight variations of song and one
recording is not going to represent all possibilities. Murphy's Law would
explain why the "songs" chosen for the CD that I have would be the one's
that would cause the most confusion. I've not read of a sound difference in
these birds songs, only that the Brown Thrasher's song is more noticeably
paired.

Does anyone know if there is such a difference between the voices of these
species? Can a Brown Thrasher sing with the same quality as is in the
Thayer's recording of the Long-billed?

Thanks,

Steve

Steve Backes
Valrico, FL
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