May 22, 2016

A brown thrasher has taken up residence in my yard, to the delight of Scout the Cat, and to the admiration of me. The brown thrasher is the state bird of Georgia, and no wonder. It is an entertainment unto itself.

Thrashers are related to catbirds and mockingbirds. They sing less manically than do mockingbirds, but they mimic other birds and are not shy. No, they do not sing with a Southern accent.

The name matches their MO. Thrashers thrash, through undergrowth, grass, dead leaves, flinging the impediments in the air and snatching up seeds, worms, spiders, beetles. They scurry like robins. And they are fearless. See the YouTube videos of baby brown thrashers gulping down whole garter snakes.

Our thrasher is rust-colored, with white piping on its wings, a speckled breast, a long rudder-like tail and a straight thorn-shaped beak. I suspect that a nest is nearby. I put out some peanuts and strawberry tops, and the thrasher grabbed it all.

At the old house, I had the Carolina Wren Kid, who tore my welcome mat to pieces and used it for nesting material. The Kid thought nothing of hopping onto a window sill and going beak to nose with the cat, through the window screen.

(It would be nice to meet a woman who has thrasher characteristics and sings beautifully. I could use a good thrashing. I’m just saying.)

There are at least twenty bird species along my bluff ridge, swallows and bats and songbirds and bluebirds and vultures and robins and crows and blue herons and great white and snowy egrets and chickadees and nuthatches and black-capped sparrows and hummingbirds and peregrine falcons and woodpeckers and eagles and sandpipers and ducks and owls and on and on. And now thrashers.

So, welcome to Genehouse, Thalia (Thalia the Greek goddess of entertainments, of course) the Thrasher. If you need extra towels or laundry done, let me know. I have a supply of soap and toothpaste. Please don’t eat my lizards, but if you do I forgive you in advance. I can’t speak for the lizards. Let me know your favorite fruit.

Oh, and that feline in the window with the reptilian grin? Don’t show off your children to her, and don’t let her babysit.

About Eugene Jones Baldwin

I am a writer: non-fiction, fiction, journalism (Alton Telegraph), essays (The Genehouse Chronicles) and have a website: I've published a couple dozen short stories and had eleven plays produced. Current projects: "Brother of the Stones" (available on Kindle), a book of short stories; "The Faithful Husband of the Rain, short stories"; "A Black Soldier's Letters Home, WWII,;" "There is No Color in Justice," a commentary on racism; "Ratkillers," a new play. I am an avocational archaeologist and I take parts of my collection of several thousand Indian artifacts (personal finds) to schools, nature centers, libraries etc. and talk about the 20,000 year history of The First people in Illinois. (See link to website) I'm also a playwright (eleven plays produced), musician, historian (authority on the Underground Railroad in Illinois, the Tuskegee Airmen) and teacher.
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