The Preacher Returns

The preacher has returned to our central Missouri neighborhood.  Dressed in his cinnamon-brown suit, he chooses a conspicuous location to deliver his message; as if to emphasize the importance of his words, each phrase is repeated and the volume of his sermon does not waver.  Though I am not a religious person, I welcome his arrival each spring.

The brown thrasher, as this preacher is known, is a vocal summer resident who generally appears in mid April and announces his arrival with a long musical banter; consisting of two or three note lines, each delivered twice, it is a composite of birdsong, natural sounds and human-related noises.  When not singing, this bird skulks in the woodland understory and feeds primarily on the ground, consuming a variety of invertebrates, seeds and berries.  Nests are generally placed in shrubs or thickets and both parents take part in raising the young.

Come fall, the brown thrashers of central Missouri move to southern parts of the State, into Arkansas or down to the Gulf Coast.  There they relax and rest their vocal cords before coming back to preach in the Heartland.