Thursday, June 16, 2011

Eastern Towhee; Late April Migration to Northern Illinois

Late April brought home to Rockford a few new birds. Eastern Towhees (Below), Blue-gray Gnatcatchers (Tomorrow's post), Grey Catbirds (Sat.'s Post), and Spotted Sandpipers (Sun.'s Post) are among those that I have seen and photographed that will spend the summer here.
An Eastern Towhee singing at the top of his bird lungs,
Espenscheid Forest Preserve, Rockford, IL; 5/1/2011.

To our pleasant surprise, this female Eastern Towhee showed up in our back yard, Rockford, IL; 4/28/2011.
One morning while getting ready for school, I did my usual check out the back window at the bird feeding stations, and I saw a bird I have never seen in our yard - at first I thought it was an off-colored Robin with a white breast (Above - bottom). But it was too stocky to be a Robin and it didn't have the Robin bill. I just couldn't place what kind of bird it was until I had to look in my trusty Sibley's Field Guide To Birds. Finally I realized it was a female Eastern Towhee - now if it was a male Towhee, I would have recognized it immediately, but the brown head and wings threw me off (Below). I apologize to all females of the world for my malecentric birding. This Towhee became the 29th speciesof bird to be seen in our yard this year. 

This female Eastern Towhee showed up in our back yard, Rockford, IL; 4/28/2011.

These beautiful Towhees are aptly named as they are found in the eastern half of the country and cross slightly into southern central Canada during summer, but only in the southeast during winter. They very rarely go south of the border to Mexico.

Male Eastern Towhee, Rock Cut State Park, IL; 5/8/2011.
Male Eastern Towhees (Above and very Top) sport an all black head and wings with one white patch at the base of its primaries. Their rufous-colored flanks are contrasted with a white belly and yellow under the tail and under the wings. Females are brown where their male counterparts are black, otherwise they have all the other same colorings and markings.

 BIF of a male Eastern Towhee, Rock Cut State Park; 5/8/2011.
One of my favorite BIF shots I've taken this spring was of a backlit male Eastern Towhee in Rock Cut State Park (Above).

1 comment:

Chesney said...

That first image is an amazing capture...looks like he is calling out to all his friends to come! :) But I do have to say, that last image is definitely a dazzler...wow those wings are incredible...congrats on such outstanding images!