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.