Subscribe to BirdNote

Sign up to receive a weekly email preview of the following week's shows!

Sign Up
Support BirdNote

Help BirdNote tell more stories, reach more people, and inspire action.


You are here

Sage Thrasher and Sagebrush

A male Sage Thrasher proclaims his territory

The glorious song of the male Sage Thrasher rings out every spring from tracts of sagebrush throughout the West. Sagebrush was once widespread in the Great Basin region, and so were the thrashers. But huge areas of sagebrush were turned into alfalfa and potato farms, and the songs of the thrasher aren't so common today. Sagebrush badly needs advocacy. The Important Bird Areas program works to protect key habitats for birds.
Support for BirdNote comes from Audubon Park Wild Bird Food, owned by a bird-loving family for 60 years. Info, and why bird-loving runs in familes, at

Full Transcript

Sage Thrasher and Disappearing Sagebrush

Written by Dennis Paulson

This is BirdNote.
[Sage Thrasher singing]
This glorious song rings out every spring from tracts of sagebrush throughout the West.  A male Sage Thrasher is proclaiming his territory.
[Continued singing of Sage Thrasher]
Sagebrush was once so widespread in the Great Basin region that you’d never be out of earshot of one of these sandy-brown, long-tailed songsters. But miles of drab gray-green sagebrush don't inspire the love that redwood forests or alpine lakes evoke in us. And, lacking advocates, this habitat has been lost at a prodigious rate.
[More Sage Thrasher song]
The dry land that sagebrush inhabits proves to be superb for agriculture if water, that magical ingredient, is added.  When irrigation became available through the Bureau of Reclamation, huge areas of sagebrush were turned into alfalfa and potato farms. Drive through much of this area now, and you'll hear only sprinklers.
[Pssht pssht pssht sound of a sprinkler]
Sagebrush is a rich habitat, home to many birds and mammals found nowhere else, and it badly needs advocacy. A worldwide effort called The Important Bird Areas program works to identify and protect key places that provide essential habitat for birds.  Discover ways you can connect with the program, and the Sage Thrasher, when you come to I’m Mary McCann.
[More Sage Thrasher song]

Song of the Sage Thrasher provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York and recorded by G.A. Keller.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2012 Tune In to     April 2012     Narrator: Mary McCann

ID# SotB-SATH-01

Sights & Sounds

Related topics: