A family of four Curve-billed Thrashers––both adults and their two fledglings––was especially emphatic. The adults seized the opportunity to teach their young a thing or two about the danger posed by snakes. Judging from the way the young joined the action, they are now well-schooled.
Curve-billed Thrasher protests a rattlesnake. (Photos by Narca)
A few minutes later a single Crissal Thrasher came in for a drink. This bird had no family in tow, but joined the general melée anyway!
A Crissal Thrasher joins the fracas.
Crissal Thrasher's best distinguishing marks––the chestnut undertail coverts and strong malar––aren't obvious here, but you can see the less-orange eye. To me they seem a little more slender and elegant than the Curve-billeds, with a slightly longer, slightly more curved black bill. With practice, you can learn to distinguish at a glance the subtle differences in proportions––but then confirm your impression by checking that malar mark and chestnut under the tail! Thrashers can pose identification challenges!
The business end of a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake, staked out and patiently waiting for a meal.