Sunday, October 22, 2006

Visiting Towhees

We have a lot of Eastern Towhees at the Wekiva banding site. You can hear them from just before sun up and through the morning. Heck, if I ran a straight line through the scrub I bet I would trip over several in any direction!

So it took me aback when I was nearly speechless when we pulled the first of two Towhees out of their carrying bags at the table. These were certainly Eastern Towhees but not our locals. These were travelers who had stopped by to feed and probably hobnob with their Southern cousins.

The differences are slight but to me they were downright striking today.

The colors are very defined and deeper. I was jabbering on and on about the rich color for many, many minutes.
May not mean much to some, I know. The female was first out and the chocolate brown jumped right out at me.

Eastern Towhee

Notice the bright white spots on the wings. The resident birds hardly have much white on their wings at all. I wish I had had more time to document the wing differences. In the shot of the male below you can notice the way the colors blend together along the back from white to brown. And talk about black, black!

This picture also shows the fasted way to tell differences in the locals and migrants. The migrants have that amazing red eye.

Eastern Towhee

One more difference from the local and migrants: The migrants bite like deranged Northern Cardinals! Those who have been bitten know what I mean.

Eastern Towhee

You can compare these birds to some locals at my Towhee page.

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