Birds that are more visible than heard fall under the category of eastern Towhee. Several people are familiar with their cries and song, but towhee’s prefer to stay hidden in the undergrowth and may be difficult to see. They may come to visit or even nest if you have the right conditions in your yard. With 18 fascinating facts about eastern towhees, let’s learn more about these mysterious yet lovely birds.
18 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT EASTERN TOWHEES
1. EASTERN TOWHEES ARE MEMBERS OF THE SPARROW FAMILY.
Eastern Towhees are a big sparrow, despite their appearance as small brown birds that make up the majority of the Sparrow family. In comparison to even the decent-sized song sparrow, they are notably longer and heavier.
2. MALES AND FEMALES SHARE THE SAME PATTERN BUT ARE DIFFERENTLY COLORED.
White chests and warm rufous (orange) sides distinguish male and female eastern towhees, as well as a dark head, back, and tail. The dark pigmentation in males is black, whereas it is brown in females.
3. THEIR EYES AREN’T ALWAYS THE SAME COLOR
Eastern Towhees have brown eyes in the vast majority of instances. They may be crimson in color, particularly noticeable on guys. Yet, in some parts of the southeastern United States, A white-eyed variety may be found, such as in Florida up to Alabama and North Carolina.
4. THEY ARE OFTEN IDENTIFIED BY THEIR SONG AND CALLS.
These birds are known as “chewink” in some regions of the nation, based on their two-part vocal (sounds like chewink). Their famous hit is characterized as a sharp, loud, and trill rendition of the traditional phrase “drink-your-tea.”
5. THEIR NAME COMES FROM THEIR CALL
The bird was first named in 1731 by naturalist Mark Catesby, who thought the widespread call resembled “tow-hee.”
6. WHAT IS A GROUP OF TOWHEES CALLED?
A towhees “teapot” or “tangle” is a collection of towhees (although they are not normally found in such a group).
7. EASTERN TOWHEES ARE SHORT DISTANCE MIGRANTS
They have distinct winter and summer ranges, despite the fact that they don’t travel a long distance. They may be found from Texas to the southeast, as far north as lower Ohio and as far west as Florida. They’re just a spring/summer bird in the New England and Great Lakes areas. They will be visible only during the winter in parts of eastern Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.
8. THEY USED TO BE CALLED THE RUFOUS-SIDED TOWHEE
The Spotted Towhee is the Western equivalent of the Eastern Towhee. These birds were referred to as the Rufous-sided Towhee for a long period of time. Nevertheless, distinctions in plumage, songs, and genetics make it feasible to split birds into smaller groupings as they are studied more thoroughly. The eastern and western towhee populations were split in the late 1990s.
9. EASTERN TOWHEES ARE PRETTY SOLITARY
During the non-breeding season, they may be more accepting of one another, but males don’t like each other much in the spring and summer! To deter other males, they will employ threatening displays such as spread wings, fanned out tails, and tail flicking.
10. EASTERN TOWHEES USUALLY NEST ON OR CLOSE TO THE GROUND.
Nesting in leaf litter, the nest is surrounded by up to the rim by leaves. Up to 4 feet above the ground, they will also nest in shrubs and tangled briar. The nest will be built entirely by the female.
11. EASTERN TOWHEES CAN HAVE UP TO THREE BROODS PER YEAR.
Each brood will include 2-6 eggs, and they will be hatched each year. It’s usually two broods with three or four eggs. Fine grass, downy plants, and animal hair are used to soften the inside of the nest cup.
12. THEIR NESTING PERIOD IS RELATIVELY QUICK
Before hatching, they incubate the eggs for 12 to 13 days. Nestlings remain in the nest for approximately 10-12 days after hatching. At this time, both parents are responsible for the child.
13. FLEDGED EASTERN TOWHEES STILL GET HELP FROM MOM AND DAD
Leave a fledged nestling alone if you find one on the ground. It’s likely that the parents are nearby. Young towhees, once they’re fledged, will hop about on the ground in search of food, following their parents. For a few days, Mom and Dad will continue to feed their infants this way. This teaches the young how to hunt for their own food.
14. EASTERN TOWHEES HAVE A DIVERSE DIET
Towhees eat seeds (including grasses and weeds), fruits (berries), and invertebrates like spiders and centipedes, which are all part of a forager’s diet.
15. THEY FIND MOST OF THEIR FOOD ON THE GROUND
Seed and insect hunters, towhees are masters of searching through leaves. These generally perform a backwards hop, utilizing their feet to sweep leaves away and reveal what lies beneath. They’ll slither into the shrubs when they’re not on the ground.
16. EASTERN TOWHEE POPULATION HAS DECLINED
Between 1966 and 2015, the population of eastern towhees declined by over half, nevertheless they are still not a bird of concern due to their large population. In north-eastern states, where populations in the south have remained more steady, this decline has been much more severe. Their historical shrubland habitat has been mostly destroyed by farming and housing development, and their food source has been destroyed by pesticides.
17. WILL EASTERN TOWHEES VISIT FEEDERS?
Yes, it does happen on occasion. They won’t perch on hanging feeders. These may approach the region immediately below your feeder to collect fallen seeds on the ground if they are present in your yard. Milo, millet, oats, and cracked corn are among their favorites. If your feeders are near a shrubby border, you’re more likely to notice them.
18. HOW CAN I ATTRACT TOWHEES TO MY YARD?
Towhees, as we previously mentioned, spend a lot of time looking through leaves and vegetation. To attract their attention, you’ll need to have some un-manicured parts of your yard. Around your yard borders, patches of woods with untrimmed brush and overgrown shrubs will help.
The color of the eastern towhees is very stunning and distinctive. Yet, since their black hind and orange sides blend in with the forest floor so well, you may only hear them rustling through the leaves until you spot them. These huge and gorgeous sparrows are a real pleasure to see. Some ways to attract them to your yard include incorporating untamed borders and non-grass ground cover.