Eastern Towhees: What Characters!
When birders say, “oh that is one of my favorite birds!,” it is often an odd statement. We have so many “favorite birds” as to make that statement ubiquitous. However, here goes – the Eastern Towhee is one of my favorite species of birds. To me, they seem elegant and comical at the same time. Often they “look” annoyed at my intrusions, no matter how far away I stand. They flee at the slightest provocation, and yet most of the time they manage to often sport an air of superiority. They are gorgeous birds and yet unfailingly adorable. When they jump down from a branch and start hopping with both feet as they begin to scratch for food, it is hard to hold back giggles. Fortunately, my apartment complex leaves some areas of unraked leaf cover and brush. The towhees (and several other kinds of birds) love these!
Most birders know that Towhees are sparrows. In “technical” terms they are emberizids.
“…the family that includes buntings, cowbirds, grosbeaks, American orioles, and some sparrows.” Source: EncartaDictionaries
I found the following statement interesting when I looked up the species on BNA Online.
“Despite its popularity and wide occurrence across eastern North America, many details of the Eastern Towhee’s natural history remain poorly known. Its songs and singing behavior have received significant attention. Because the bird spends much of its time near or on the ground in dense habitats and scrubby growth, however, it is usually difficult to study.”
Learn more about Eastern Towhees on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s All About Birds species page. The males have the black coloring and the females have the brown.