June 1, 2011

Eastern towhee – drinking tea

Scratching and turning over leaves, the towhee is a handsome, long-tailed bird of the understory that makes itself known through some loud and accomplished singing. In the sparrow family, the Eastern towhee (formerly known as the rufous-sided towhee) is a common breeder along scrublands, forest edge, and open fields throughout New England. Often heard before seen singing a bright, slow paced song often remembered by the mnemonic device, “drink your tea-e-e-e-e”. The trilled “tea” is also turned into the two-noted, name-saying “tow-weeee” call. Female towhee’s are beautifully colored in a contrasting, dusty version of the male. In flight towhee’s show flashes of white on the outer tail. They are often found scratching for bugs and seeds in the leaf litter, or flying from bush to bush in an open field, or seen as a flash in at eye height in the woods.

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is an educator, bird watcher, and writer fascinated by the intersections of place, people, nature, and culture. He works for Mass Audubon and lives in the heart of Massachusetts. For questions or comments please contact: alexanderjosephdunn@gmail.com

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