Friday, March 11, 2016

Eastern Towhee. . . . . . . . . . .

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. 


  1. I have just found your blog and I am so glad I did, what beautiful photos, I have spent far too much time browsing through when I am meant to be working! We live in South West France and like you are British. Spring is finally upon us after such a strange winter, mild and wet for the second half. This morning as I stood at the kitchen sink I noticed a pair of goldfinches perching on a branch less than ten feet away, if only I had had my camera! Have a lovely weekend, Susan

    1. Thanks so much Susan for reading and commenting - I love meeting new bloggers and getting to know more about their lives in other countries! You are not too far from my family who live in southwest France also and, needless to say, I love visiting that area.
      Have become a Follower and will write more on your blog later!

      Happy weekend - Mary

  2. What a sweet couple, Mary. I have never seen one in our parts. You have captured them so beautifully. I could never understand why some birds nest so close to the ground. It is so unsafe as far as predators. We had a momma kildeer nest in or neighbours' drive-way last summer. When you drove in you had to veer to the right not to run over the nest. The owners had placed a bright red flag beside the nest. The momma bird would scream at you as you went by. Silly bird. But, apparently, very normal for this type of bird.

  3. Oh goodie to the more bird stories!! Whenever your posts feature birds, I know I am in for a real treat and this one didn't disappoint. Wowee!!! You got some amazing shots of the Towhees. The clarity of the eyes is amazing and the background is so interesting.
    I hope you have a wonderful weekend, Mary.

  4. Dear Mary, When is the Audubon society going to hire you for their candid bird shots? All I can say is WOW.

  5. What a lovely bird, and how lucky you were to get such great shots of both male and female. I love this time of the year when all the birds are singing.

  6. What busy birds. The male is pretty, but the female is lovely in a warm and cosy way. Sounds weird, I know!

  7. I miss the towhees we had while living in NC. I have not seen any here. You got some wonderful shots!

  8. Great pictures. How sweet they are. I do love our feathered friends. Have a good weekend.

  9. Some great shots here, their colours are amazing aren't they.
    Thanks for sharing.

    All the best Jan

  10. Wonderful shots of the eastern towhee, and such interesting commentary to go along with them. Looking forward to more of your bird stories.

  11. Love your pictures. The Towhees are really singing around my place and busy rearranging the wood-bark mulch underneath my azaleas, searching for the last remaining seeds which I put there in the winter. Haven't seen any further effort by the bluebird couple to set up housekeeping on my patio, but I do think they will be back. They have been very active at my suet feeders all winter.

  12. Mary, what wonderful shots of the towhees. They are beautiful. I rarely see them as we do not have the appropriate ground cover and shrubs around our house. Thanks.
    Farm Gal in VA

  13. Glorious glorious photos. I've not been able to get any good ones as they are almost always on the ground skritching about. Enjoy your weekend - we have yet another Pacific storm blowing in - but not as strong as the last one - which brought us winds up to 127 MPH - closed the floating bridge (lest it blow away) and knocked down a big tree that barely missed our daughter's house.

  14. I love all your birds. Never seen a Towhee before nor even knew they existed until now. Delightful.


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