Looking For The First Of The Year Sage Thrashers To Arrive

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Early Sage Thrasher warming up on a rock in front of the Great Salt LakeEarly Sage Thrasher warming up on a rock in front of the Great Salt Lake – Nikon D810, f8, 1/1250, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Yesterday a “memory” popped up on my Facebook timeline that got me excited, the memory was that I had shared my first of the year sighting of a Sage Thrasher on Antelope Island State Park on the 8th of March a few years ago which means I could be seeing these “Mountain Mockingbirds” any day now. After a long winter where I have often struggled to locate birds to photograph just thinking about the Sage Thrashers arriving has delighted me.

I can barely wait to see my first Sage Thrasher of the year warming up on a rock in front of the Great Salt Lake, scurrying along on the ground, perched on top of sage or rabbitbrush singing or displaying.

Singing Sage Thrasher on top of RabbitbrushSinging Sage Thrasher on top of Rabbitbrush – Nikon D810, f10, 1/640, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Sage Thrashers are the smallest thrashers found in North America although they are thought to be more closely related to Northern Mockingbirds than our other thrashers. Sage Thrashers are found throughout the western U.S. where they breed exclusively in sagebrush steppe and because they are sagebrush steppe obligates they could be in trouble in the future because of climate change and destruction of their habitat by mining, gas and oil extraction just like the Greater-Sage Grouse. Sage Thrashers have shown a 52% decline in population already according to the BBS.  Protections that are good for the grouse are also good for these small thrashers and right now those protections are under fire from the current administration.

Sage Thrashers aren’t colorful but they can sing, I mean really sing and I enjoy hearing their songs during the time they are here in Utah immensely. Have a listen!

Just knowing that Sage Thrashers are winging their way here helps to lift my spirits and after basically getting skunked up north of here yesterday I really need to be uplifted.

Life is good.


Both of these Sage Thrasher images were taken in 2015.


  1. Pepe Forte March 9, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Great capture of the thrasher’s eye’s. So incredibly vivid. Thanks Mia.

  2. Elephants Child March 9, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    That song is incredible. Heart warming and lovely.
    Thank you – I hope they return quickly.

  3. Utahbooklover March 9, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Great images and singing! Spring is just around the corner, I’m happy to say. Thanks for posting.

  4. sallie reynolds March 9, 2018 at 10:43 am

    Love the song. Thanks!

  5. Jane Chesebrough March 9, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Life IS good. I enjoyed the song of the Sage Thrasher. Very nice to hear after a dump of snow last week. Lovely! Hearing that their population has suffered a decline of 52%, however, saddens me.

  6. kim March 9, 2018 at 7:23 am

    Ahhhhh, the sound of Spring!

  7. Glen Fox March 9, 2018 at 6:43 am

    Wow! All that beautiful music in one breath. Thanks for sharing Mia. No wonder you look forward to their return!

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