But the light of day was on them
They could see the thrashers coming....
A brown thrasher, to be precise. Finally, a bird that cannot possibly be anything else. Lots of birds have spots or stripes on the breast, but not many of them are as big as a robin, and none of them have long tails and yellow eyes.
I assume they're called thrashers because of the noise they make -- they like to root around in the undergrowth, tossing leaves and twigs aside while they look for food. It reminds me of someone digging frantically through a pile of dirty clothes looking for missing keys. I half expect them to shout "Aha!"