I managed to get this quite good shot of the male Eastern towhee earlier
in the Winter garden. Have been trying to photograph his mate without
much luck until a few days ago when she sat on the fountain for several minutes.
I was so happy to get these closeups through the dining room window.
Isn't she a sweet girl?
Somewhat secretive, the towhee, who is sightly smaller than the American robin,
may be noticed first by the sound of industrious scratching in the leaf-litter under
dense thickets. In the mating season, which I guess is imminent, the male
becomes much bolder, singing from high perches.
Mrs. Towhee is mostly brown with rusty red sides, a white belly, and a long
brown tail with a white tip. The bill is short and stout, the eyes a rich red.
The male is similar but black not brown. They are non-migrators in the Carolinas.
Mrs. Towhee stays busy in Spring building a nest either on the ground under
a shrub, or in low bushes, usually less than 5 feet above the ground.
She will lay 3-4, sometimes 5, rarely 2-6, creamy white eggs with brown spots
at the larger end. She will incubate, the male will do most of the feeding
of the nestlings who remain with the parents for some time after hatching.
This very warm week has certainly brought a lot of avian activity to the garden.
Sleeping with windows open has brought a rousing dawn chorus these past couple
of mornings. You can bet I'll have more bird stories and photos to share soon.