Georgia State Bird

What Is the Georgia State Bird?

The state bird of Georgia is the Brown Thrasher. There are a lot of other states that choose a bird that has a lot of color and is easy to spot, but Georgia chose the Brown Thrasher not because it can stand out from the crowd, but because it was voted on by a group of children.

During the early 20th century, a lot of states were adopting birds as their symbols. In 1928, Georgia decided to turn to its local schoolchildren to see what they might choose. There was a vote among the kids to see which one was the most popular, with the Brown Thrasher and the red-headed woodpecker among the most popular choices. Some of the local tree owners did not want to have the woodpecker as the state bird because of the damage the bird would do to their trees. Therefore, the Brown Thrasher was nominated as the state bird instead.

Then, the Atlanta Bird Club and the State Federation of Women's Clubs discussed the idea of having the Brown Thrasher as the bird, and they formally proposed the Brown Thrasher as the state bird to the government of Georgia.

When Did the Brown Thrasher Become the State Bird?

Even though the discussion of having a state bird in Georgia was started in 1928, it was not formally proposed to the government until 1935. The governor at the time, Eugene Talmadge, issued a formal proclamation that the Brown Thrasher was the official state bird of Georgia in 1935, but the resolution was not presented to the General Assembly until much later in 1970. The bill was passed in March of that year, and there was a long delay because other people believed that the quail would be the better option, as it was more visible.

On the other hand, many people disagreed with this, because the quail is hunted for sport and eaten. People did not feel comfortable about shooting and eating the official state bird, so the Brown Thrasher was nominated once again. The bird became the official state bird in 1970.

Why Is the Brown Thrasher Called the Brown Thrasher?

There is a bit of uncertainty related to how the Brown Thrasher actually got its name. A lot of people believe that the Brown Thrasher got its name because of the way it frees seeds from grain to eat. Other people believe that the Brown Thrasher got its name because of how it behaves when it goes underneath leaves to look for food. The Brown Thrasher can be seen twisting about, using its tail to try to free food from the brush. Then, when the leaves and soil fly up, the Brown Thrasher can enjoy a meal.

Regardless of how the bird actually got its name, it appears to stem from the way it tries to get food as it throws its body about. It is easy to spot in Georgia because of its actions, making it a good choice for the state bird.

Georgia state bird
Brown thrasher
Scientific Name
Toxostoma rufum
Year Became Official