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Good Birds to All > TEA FOR TOWHEE AND TOWHEE FOR TEA

GOOD BIRDS TO ALL
BY
Daniel Striley….The Science Yeti

TEA FOR TOWHEE AND TOWHEE FOR TEA

The shy and lovely Eastern Towhee is a year round resident in our area. In the Spring and Summer as these birds start to nest, the thicket tangles that they call home begin to emanate with their unmistakable song. Males will proclaim their presence with a beautiful song many people believe sounds like (Drink-your-tea—please---drink---your tea). This call and one other that sound like their saying their name (TOW-hee) is how lots of bird folk have contact with these birds. The lifestyle that an Eastern Towhee leads keeps them well hidden among the shadows and shafts of dappled light that seep down into hedgerow where they nest.

For me the best time to look for and see Eastern Towhee is the Fall and Winter. As leaves color and drop, their hideouts become easier to infiltrate. One will often encounter both male and female birds. Eastern Towhee also known by many people as the Rufus Sided Towhee form small Winter flocks. I personally….around where I bird along the Little Miami River, have counted groups of around 12 birds which…in my experiences are heavily male, meaning that there are a few more males than females. These Winter flocks move together scathing at the forest floor gleaning any bit of seed or if lucky some juicy invertebrate. This winter as you feed the birds in your backyard look for these striking birds there’s no mistaking them. They love to pick at any seed you may scatter on the ground. I like to throw out some Finch Blend which is sold at Newtown Feed and Seed. This blend of tiny little seeds consisting of thistle and millet really bring in the Towhee if they reside in your backyard habitat.

The Eastern Towhee was split from its Western relative the Spotted Towhee a few years back. Before that both birds were collectively referred to as Rufus Sided Towhee. The reasons for this split are many but for the most part it has to do with a difference in plumage and how they sing.


In the crisscross thicket
By Phoebe Gilmore

Towhee in the crisscross thicket
Twigs
Frame your shoulder your rump your tail
I never see you wholly
Yet I know who you are

Down the hedgerow sings your namesake
The bramble your protection
Your movement concealed


GOOD BIRDS TO ALL!
For Questions or Comments please contact me at scienceyeti@gmail or
DStriley@cincymuseum.org

December 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterChase