Friday, November 4, 2011

Diversity within the Group

How often I am impressed with the diversity within a group! Or to put it another way, how can two members of the same family be so different?   Case in point is the Brown Thrashe and the Northern Mockingbird, members of the Mimidae.

Everyone knows a mocker.  They are ubiquitous, very visible and, to be blunt, obnoxious.  The mocker doesn’t just get its name from repeating songs of other species.  They enjoy mocking cats, dogs, other birds, even you.  It doesn’t mind singing day—or night--and over and over.  It dive bombs you and perches proudly on a fence post as if to say, “take that!” The mocker lives with you on a year round basis.
Brown Thrasher photographed by Bill Ravenscroft

However, the Brown Thrasher doesn’t appear just anywhere or at any time.  It tends to hide even when appearing in a region to which it has migrated.  You tend to have to hunt for this bird concentrating in low bushes and brush.  Its coloration is cryptic being rufous above and streaked below.  Only the white of its belly gives it away.  When it sings, it does so only twice instead of multiple repetitions.  The Brown Thrasher visits seasonally.

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