Discover the Official State Bird of Georgia

State of Georgia on the map of the USA
© Alexander Lukatskiy/Shutterstock.com

Written by Megan Martin

Updated: September 7, 2023

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Every state within the United States has some unique feature chosen to represent that state. For many states, there are several chosen symbols, ranging from fish to birds to reptiles. Georgia is no exception to this. However, while you may know that the state fruit of Georgia is the peach, do you know what the state bird of Georgia is?

If not, no worries! Keep reading below to learn the answer to this question and more!

The brown thrasher was named the official bird of Georgia in 1970.

What Is the State Bird of Georgia?

There are over 400 birds to see in the state of Georgia. However, only one species gets to claim the title of being the state bird. The official state bird of Georgia is the brown thrasher (Toxostoma rufum).

The brown thrasher is known for fiercely defending its nest. This means that it also may attack people, often striking with enough force to draw blood if someone treads too close to their territory. They are in the same family as catbirds and mockingbirds. They are most common in areas with heavy vegetation, such as thickets and forest edges.

The brown thrasher is a common songbird seen throughout almost all of the state of Georgia. However, it hasn’t always been one of the many state emblems. Learn below just how the brown thrasher came to represent the Peach State.

birds with beautiful songs: brown thrasher

The brown thruster became the state bird of Georgia in 1970.

©iStock.com/johnandersonphoto

How Did the Brown Thrasher Become the State Bird?

The first attempt to make the brown thrasher the official bird of Georgia can be traced back to 1928. During this time, school students in the state of Georgia came together to vote on which bird they thought should represent the state. This is actually a common practice, with many state emblems having been chosen through the school children of the respective state. Currently, the exact circumstances that brought the children to choose the brown thrasher are unsure. Historians do not know whether the children came together to name this little songbird the state bird or if they chose it from a variety of options presented to them. 

Regardless of how their choice came to be, the decision to have the brown thrasher be the bird of Georgia was supported by many organizations. This includes the State Federation of Women’s Clubs and the Atlanta Bird Club. As a result, a bill was formed at this time, though action failed to occur.

This isn’t the end of the brown thrasher’s fight to become the state birr. Once again, in 1935, a movement occurred to make the brown thrasher a symbol of the state when Governor Eugene Talmadge announced that the Brown Thrasher would be the state bird of Georgia. This was done by proclamation, however, and not properly law. As a result, while the brown thrasher was the state bird of Georgia in the heart of many of the state’s people, Georgia law didn’t yet reflect this.

That is, until March 20, 1970. During this time, a resolution was passed to ensure that the brown thrasher would become the official state bird of Georgi. During this exact resolution, however, another state bird was named the official game bird.

Northern Bobwhites drinking, Texas, USA

Northern bobwhites are a popular game bird species in the state of Georgia.

©Danita Delimont/Shutterstock.com

State Game Bird of Georgia

The northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) is the official state game bird of Georgia. It gained this status simultaneously as the brown thrasher gained its. These little birds are common in the state. They are also popular on the state’s specialized wildlife license plates.


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About the Author

Megan is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is birds, felines, and sharks. She has been researching and writing about animals for four years, and she holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with minors in biology and professional and technical writing from Wingate University, which she earned in 2022. A resident of North Carolina, Megan is an avid birdwatcher that enjoys spending time with her cats and exploring local zoological parks with her husband.

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