Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre) 11 inches long

Curve-billed Thrasher in cholla cactus

This rather drab bird with striking yellowish-orange eyes is only found in the southwestern border states and northern Mexico. It thrives where mesquite and cactus are plentiful, often nesting in cholla cacti such as the one pictured above. The nest is a cup-shaped structure of twigs and roots. This thrasher's diet consists of beetles, ants, crickets and grasshoppers as well as plants including prickly pear cactus, corn, nightshade and bristlegrass. It also comes unhestitatingly to seed feeders where it seems to toss more seed onto the ground than it actually eats, but the doves and other ground feeding birds gather on the ground underneath to clean up, so nothing is lost.

The Curve-billed Thrasher will often be noticed perched on the top branch of a mesquite bush uttering a piercing, metallic whistle. Its song is varied and often quite melodious with low trills and warbles. It is a common permanent resident in Cochise county and even ventures into town and city parks.