Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhee

Eastern Towhee

I rarely write about birds, even when I hear wild Turkeys call over in woods’ edge or I see a heron.

Yesterday there were crows out back, sitting in a big pecan tree and cawking while mockingbirds followed them, trying to run them off. Today when I was out with the camera, I found him under the azaleas, scratching for what looked like nest material. The mate was shaking the branches of the boxwood in the picture but I never saw her.

The big surprise was when I walked up on a Towhee, scratching under a Camellia bush. He bounced over onto the paved driveway with whatever prize he’d found and then hopped across and up into the low limbs of boxwood. Easily distinguished from a robin or an oriole by size alone, they have the rufous coloring and dark backs.

It seems that we have our own Coastal South Towhee subspecies:

Alabama Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus canasterm – A. H. Howell, 1913) ◦Range: South-central Louisiana, north to northeastern Louisiana east through Mississippi, extreme southwestern Tennessee, northern Alabama and southeastern Georgia, central South Carolina to western North Carolina, and south to northwestern Florida and east along the Gulf Coast.

They are fun to see, scratching in the leaf litter under shrubbery, searching for insects. They find great pickings here because I don’t take time to rake under bushes. I leave plenty of cover and natural mulch.

It won’t be long before we hear the Goatsuckers calling at night: “Whip-poor-will” at which time Daddy Mack always said it was time to plant peas (southern field peas).

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