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breeden
ursulav

Dawn of the Towhee

Man, I have been seein' a LOT of Eastern Towhees lately.

They're a pretty bird, black on top, with crisp white and orange underneath, a robin designed by somebody with Illustrator and lots of vectors. While not a rare bird by any means, they have always been something of an uncommon visitor to my yard--I see them maybe once or twice a month, rare enough that I still go "Oo! A towhee!" when I see one. The females are similiar, but chocolate brown on top instead of black.

This spring, though--or springish-like period, since I don't think it's officially spring yet--I've been seeing them everywhere. One darted out of the bushes in the parking lot of the mall. They cavort through the backyard at the new place. They're everywhere.

While I haven't had much time for concentrated birdwatching at the new place--putting out a bath and a coupla feeders is all I've managed, and the only thing I've seen on a feeder is a tufted titmouse--casual observation has spotted a flock of crows, a Generic Hawky Thing (I just assume all hawks are red-tails until proven otherwise) aforementioned titmouse, a brown thrasher, a hermit thrush, Carolina wrens, a bluebird, enough cardinals to make a fire-engine red trenchcoat, and a northern flicker. I can hear geese every evening from the nearby lake, and there are more robins than I know what to do with. And of course, the towhee.

I wonder if it's just a banner year for towhees, or if this is a harbinger of the coming Towhee Invasion, wherein attractive little birds surround a plucky band of survivors and try to eat their brains.


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Yes, spring has sprung. Mother Nature might not know it, but it's true.

We have a Spotted Towhee hanging out in our yard. He's a facinating little birdy, especially amoungst the Legion of Little Brown Birds

The Towhee and the Varied thrush are my favorite visitors.

They both have songs I adore.

Spring begins at equinox, which was March 20 this year, I think, and lasts until solstice.

That's kind of funny, because I've been noticing an unusual number of spotted towhees in my yard! And I'm like, "Squee, towhee!" as well.

Thought you'd enjoy this article:

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20060403/monalisa_his.html

In a way, it's almost like an art tutorial. I'm going to try a new coloring technique based on what the article was talking about. ;3

Gosh, our California Towhees are downright annoying. They're *everywhere*! And totally fearless - they'll eat about two feet from where you're sitting. I don't even see the fat little buggers anymore.

But, of course, I've only seen one cardinal in my entire life (in Texas), so I guess we're even.

There are cadinals all over the place at my mom's in Bobcaygeon, Ontario and a few here in Oshawa! We also have several blue jays!

My mom even gets as many as a dozen wild turkeys occassionally wandering across her yard!

Haha, not that I can compete with that, but our hillbilly neighboors have two-dozen chickens that raid our birdseed (until the cat chases them off).

The blackbirds are singing, but I'm sure as hell NOT calling this spring! There's still way too much snow for my liking, and while I've spent the last couple of days buying summer clothes there's no denying that it's far too cold to wear them yet. *sigh*

I'd be rooting for the towhees, I think.

Growing up on a wooded lot just north of Atlanta, I have fond memories of birdsong in the spring and summer--often up to three or four different species at a time. Living in the Pacific Northwet now, there doesn't seem to be quite the variety and almost nothing familiar beyond the ubiquitous robin. Wedges of geese and other waterfowl were very different to me, and the Steller's Jay is just as attitudinal as his Eastern cousin. I miss the bold titmice and chickadees, and even the mad midnight mockingbird singing his litany of stolen tunes in the darkness. Our towhees in Georgia were a brown variety, which blended in nicely among the dry leaves that they sometimes vigorously scratched through.

Spring is officially when I have to crank up the lawnmower (with propane to get it runing after a long idle winter) for the first time.

A while back you posted that you heard a bird call that you couldn't identify. Some people posted that your description sounded like a peacock call, and I suggested it might be a Towhee.

Did you ever find out what it was?

One of the Towhees calls sound like a cat caught in a tree screaaaaaming.

"...enough cardinals to make a fire-engine red trenchcoat..."

I suddenly have this image in my head of someone walking around, covered in live cardinals, wearing them like a coat...

May our towhee masters be kind and just! (And not make the brain eating part too nasty...)

We've been seeing a rufous-sided towhee scratching around under the birdfeeder out back the past week or so. We'd only ever caught glimpses of him before and that was only in the past year.

In other news, a flock of cedar waxwings flew through and ate all of the toyon berries off the bush out front. Apparently it's not cool any more to eat juniper berries. Toyon is where it's at! (Those guys are so cool, I love their top-knots. I wish they'd hang out a little more often...)

"I wonder if it's just a banner year for towhees, or if this is a harbinger of the coming Towhee Invasion, wherein attractive little birds surround a plucky band of survivors and try to eat their brains."



(I'm Sorry! I'm Sorry! *Rayjay ducks and runs for cover*)


On the topic of weird birds

Saw a bird walk up a slanted tree trunk instead of fly.

Birds walking upwards.

Lazy Florida bastards or usual SOP?

We have a male one in our backyard, but something almost ate it so it doesn't hop as well as it used to. I'm glad to see that they aren't all that rare. Now if you could only get a female or two to come down here...

If they survive their brains being eaten, does that make them a plucky band of zombies?

RE: Towhee Invasion

(Anonymous)
I don't know, Ursula. First, you fear the Peacock Invasion, now the Towhees... I'd guess that the Generic Hawky Things are next, but you're right, the red-tailed hawks already took over!

Congrats on your Eisner nomination.

Mike
10,000 Birds

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