The brown thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) is common to fairly common in BCR 14. It prefers low dense woody thickets in the oak, pine-oak-maple or pine communities for nesting or for cover. Thrasher populations are declining as forests mature and low thickets become shaded out. It is listed as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in one or more states in BCR 14.

Habitat Needs

Preferred habitats include dry thickets, pitch pine-scrub oak barrens, brushy fields, forest edges and clearings. Vegetative size classes range from saplings to poles in forested areas or reverting fields and field edges. Drier sites are preferred.

Its territory is usually about 1½ acres. There can be a bird per acre in good habitat.

Habitat Management Practices

Maintain as high a percentage as possible in the sapling and pole stages in the pine-oak-maple habitat type. Schedule treatments so there is a consistent supply of these habitat conditions across space and time. Maintain at least 25 percent of the area in this type in the sapling and pole stages. Group sizes should average 5 acres whenever possible.

When assessing properties for habitat potential, look for soils that are excessively to moderately well drained, sandy to sandy-gravelly such as Colton, Adams, Croghan, Machias, Masardis, or Sheepscot in northern areas. Similar soils in southern areas include Boscawen, Caesar, Champlain, Deerfield, Duane, Hinckley, Hoosic, Merrimac, Quonset or Windsor. There are others depending on the location in BCR 14.

Silvicultural Practices

  • In even-aged stands consider patch cuts ranging from 3 to 5 acres. A two-cut shelterwood system is a good alternative.
  • In all-aged stands, consider using group selection cuts. Maximize group size using 3-acre groups or larger.
  • Schedule entry periods so at least 25 percent of the total area in this habitat type remains in the sapling and pole stages.
  • Stands on these soils can be operated at any time of year. However, soil scarification usually helps to establish oak and pine regeneration. The optimum time to work in these stands is after nesting season since thrashers typically nest low in the shrub layer. Avoid entry during nesting season—April to June.

Additional Information

Forest Types