USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

Birds of the St. Croix River Valley: Minnesota and Wisconsin

FAMILY MIMIDAE

Mockingbirds and Thrashers


Mockingbird -- Gray Catbird -- Brown Thrasher

Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)

Status: Casual visitor.

Records: The first record was obtained at Crex Meadows, Burnett County, on 7 May 1958 (MacBriar 1958). One was recorded at Crex Meadows on 5 and 16 May 1964 (Soulen 1965). Two were recorded in Washington County on 23 May 1978 (Willard 1971) and 19 July 1978 (Green 1979). Single mockingbirds were observed at Crex Meadows on 10 May 1975 and 23 May 1976 (M. Link, personal communication), and on 18 May 1980 (D. D. Tessen, personal communication). Faanes and Goddard (1976) cited a 25 April 1976 record from near Woodville, St. Croix County.


Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis)

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, casual in winter.

Migration: Common (locally abundant) migrant throughout the Valley. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 1- 5 May and the Northern Highland 5-10 May. Peak spring abundance occurs 10-20 May. Fall migration begins in mid-August. Peak fall migration occurs 5-20 September and departure 5-10 October.

Nesting Season Distribution: Fairly common (locally common) nesting species in the Western Upland, common in the Central Plain and fairly common in the Northern Highland. Goddard (1972) found the gray catbird the most abundant nesting species in the Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce County. Breeding density in that area was 48.9 pairs per 40 ha. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 5) show that this species is well distributed throughout the Valley and that greatest densities occur in the Central Plain.

Winter: Polk County records include 9 January to 30 March 1956 at Luck (Lound and Lound 1957a), and December 1956 to 19 January 1957 (Lound and Lound 1957b). A single gray catbird remained at a Newport feeder (Washington County) until 27 December 1964 (Huber 1965). One observed at St Croix Falls, Polk County, on 9 March 1948 may have wintered locally (Robbins 1948c).

Habitat: Primarily a species of deciduous forest edge habitats. Important among these are second-growth Northern Hardwood Forest, Deciduous Clear Cuts, Old Field Community, and fencerows. Lowland Deciduous forest is occasionally used in the Western Upland and Black Spruce-Tamarack Bogs receive limited use in the Northern Highland. In residential areas, ornamental shrubbery is used.


Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum)

Status: Regular migrant and nesting species, casual early winter resident.

Migration: Common migrant in the Western Upland and Central Plain, fairly common in the Northern Highland. Spring migrants arrive in the Western Upland 20-25 April (earliest-4 April 1975, Washington County) and reach the Northern Highland 25-30 April. Peak spring abundance occurs 1-15 May. Fall migration begins 15-30 August; peak movements occur 5-20 September and departure by 10 October.

Nesting Season Distribution: Common nesting species in the Western Upland and Central Plain, fairly common and more local in the Northern Highland. Jackson (1943) reported this species as "not common" in northwestern Wisconsin in 1919 but almost 50 years later, Bernard (1967) considered brown thrashers "common" in Douglas County. Breeding Bird Survey data (Table 5) suggest a gradual decrease in relative abundance moving northward across the Valley. Major changes in abundance appear to occur between the Central Plain and Northern Highland. Goddard (1972) reported a breeding density of 6.4 pairs per 40 ha in the Kinnickinnic River Valley, Pierce County.

Winter: There are three early winter records from Washington County: 20 December 1969, 29 December 1973, and 1 January 1975. One remained at a Pierce County feeder through 11 January 1976 (Faanes and Goddard 1976).

Habitat: Primarily a species of edge habitats. Important among these are natural clearings in Southern Deciduous Forest, Old Field Community, brushy fencerows, and Deciduous Clear Cuts. Recently logged oak forests and grazed woodlots supporting an abundance of prickly ash and hawthorn are frequently used in the Western Upland.


Previous Section-- Wrens
Return to Contents
Next Section -- Thrashers, Solitaires, and Bluebirds

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/birds/stcroix/mimidae.htm
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Friday, 01-Feb-2013 19:58:23 EST
Menlo Park, CA [caww54]