Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A New Visitor To The Feeder

This handsome first time visitor was eating at the bird feeder on
this snow covered morning. He looked beautiful in the snowy
landscape with his black head, bill, tail and back.
It had a beautiful burnt orange belly with a white chest
and white markings on the wings. The pictures are not very good
because they were taken threw a window and it was very cloudy
outside. His black eye can hardly be seen in his black feathered head.

I thought it might have been an Oriole, but he had a white chest so
the Oriole was ruled out. So then a visit to the Ohio Department
of Natural Resources
and a search through the birds listed
gave me the identity of my bird. An Eastern Towee.

The site also gave me information about the Eastern Towee.

The name "towhee," comes from an imitation of this bird's call note,
which sounds very much like it is saying "drink your teeeaaa!"
The name was given to this species in 1731 by the naturalist and
bird artist Mark Catesby, who encountered it in the Carolinas


Male Eastern towhees have a black hood, back, wings and tail.
The breast and belly are white and the sides are roufus.
The female is similar, except she is brown where the male is black.

Habitat and Habits

Towhees inhabit brushy fields, woodland openings and edges,
cedar groves, and thickets. They feed primarily on the ground,
and will scratch loudly amongst the leaf litter, like small chickens.
This large, showy sparrow has a very distinctive, clear ringing song.
Their call, which has the same clear tone, resembles chewink!

Reproduction and Care of the Young

A loose nest in the shape of a cup is laid in a dense bush near
the ground. The eggs are reddish-brown in color, with lilac spots.

Eats nuts, fruits, seeds and occasionally insects.


gardenerprogress said...

It looks so sweet in the tree. Don't you like colorful surprises like that on a snowy day?

Anonymous said...

I bought the Birds of Ohio Field Guide, and got a kick out of the mnemonic devices he used to describe birds calls, especially Drink Your Tea for the towhee. I don't remember them all, but it really does help, especially when I hear Killdeers or Bobwhites. They seem to say their names!

Anonymous said...

About my orchid, it has no smell whatsover, thank goodness. We don't want to have a repeat of the paperwhite incident!

Susan Tomlinson said...

I love towhees! They are indeed handsome birds.

willisjw said...

That's a nice picture of the Towhee. We saw our first Towee's just two years ago and my first reaction was - "What a weird-looking Robin". Ours have been shy and rarely come directly up to the feeder. They seem to prefer to scratch around in the shrubs.

Aerie-el said...

I love that you include the info about the birds you write about and have photos of in your posts. Your eastern towhee looks a lot like ours out here in the Seattle area. They are so pretty, both east and west 'versions'! One visited the suet I made (posted a photo of it on my blog), and since then they have been regular visitors. You must have some good stuff for them to feed on, especially welcome during this frigid weather there.

Hope you stay warm and dry!


Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Gardenprogress; It was a welcome event on a snowy day to have something new appear and such a pretty bird.

Robin; I am glad the Orchid has no smell, it is something I will look into getting now. Thanks for letting me know.

Susan;I watched him for a very long time and I hope he stays around.

Willisjw; thanks for dropping by. LOL, they do look like a weird Robin. I can see why you wondered because I sure didn't know what he was either the first time seeing one.

Aerie-el; I have to check out your Towhee now.I do not think it was because I have such good feed but that he must have been really hungry :)

Thistledew Farm said...

Awesome Pictures! Thanks for sharing the little towhee with us.

Anonymous said...

I just saw my first Towhee the other week. I love seeing new birds in my yard. He was scratching around the ground near my evergreens. I should throw some seed out for him (on the ground instead of just the feeders).

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Thistle Farm; Thank you. They were taken through the window so they were not the greatest. Thank you for dropping by and for linking to my blog.

Kpaneitz; You know I have not seen that pretty fellow since that day. Bummer.Thank you for dropping by.