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Friday, April 28, 2006

B.O.D. (Bird of the Day), Eastern Towhee

Just about every morning we look at birds, even if it is just out our window over a cup of coffee. We record in our journal the birds we see, and anything else interesting going on. We have a little daily "award" called the B.O.D., or Bird Of the Day that we give to the most unusual or special bird we record that day. Today's B.O.D. award goes to the Eastern Towhee that showed up at our feeder. We were first alerted to it by its "che-wink" call note. It was at our feeder eating cracked corn. The bird we saw today was a male, who is black above with rufous sides. The above photo is of a female we photographed last year. The Eastern Towhee used to be considered one species with the Spotted Towhee of the West, and both were called Rufous-sided Towhee. They are now considered separate species and have separate names.

The reason we consider this a special bird is that Eastern Towhees are a species whose population is in decline throughout its range, particularly in New England where we live. That is because their habitat of shrubby edges or open woods with shrub understory is being lost due to development. So we were pleased to host a towhee today, whether it is just a migrant, or decides to stay and breed.

Photo © Lillian Stokes, 2006

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