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May Bird of the Month: Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhee

A member of the sparrow family, Eastern Towhees are larger than most of its family members, being closer to the size of a robin than a typical sparrow. These songbirds have very distinctive color patterns, with males having black feathers on their backs, wings, heads, and the top of their chests, reddish brown coloring on their sides, and white bellies. The females have similar coloring, but where the males are black, the females are brown.

Eastern Towhee on a fallen branch

These birds can be relatively secretive, typically foraging amongst the leaf litter. But during breeding season, they can be easily heard with their distinctive “chewink” calls. Thus, they are more often heard than seen. These birds don’t often over-winter in our area, but are a short distance migrator, only going a little further south for winter. Eastern Towhees occasionally visit feeders but prefer feeders that are closer to the brushy areas where they typically forage. Nests are generally less than 6’ off the ground, or are hidden on the ground under a bush, and typically contain 2-4 eggs. Most pairs will raise 2 broods per year. 

Female Eastern Towhee eating a seed

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