Saturday, July 12, 2014

Eastern Towhee/Moon


  You can observe and listen to birds for many years and yet, they still can surprise you.  Today, Richard and I went for a morning walk and we heard the bird that we have heard for years, the one that sounds as if it is calling Richard's name.  For a long time now, we were convinced that it was the tufted titmouse, but we NOW know that it is the Rufous sided towhee also called the Eastern towhee!
As we were walking on the trail, we went past a tree and we heard the familiar bird song: "Rich-ARD...tweet, tweet, tweet". If you listen to the video that I have here for you, you can hear it just at the beginning!  Let me know if you have ever heard this birdsong! I hope it won't take you years to figure out WHAT bird sings a song that you hear quite often!  (And you will see why this bird is called a "towhee", the next bird call after "Rich-ARD...tweet, tweet, tweet"...is "Tow-hee, tow-hee, tow-hee"!)
I was determined to see this bird, but it was not easy! The leaves on the tree were very thick and I walked around the tree and looked as high as I could.  I walked away a bit and there he was, almost at the very top, just singing away...the rufous sided towhee!  We see this bird quite a bit in our yard and after reading what the Cornell Lab of Ornithology says about them, now I know why!

Pipilo erythrophthalmus -Quabbin Reservoir, Massachusetts, USA -male-8.jpgEastern Towhees are likely to visit – or perhaps live in – your yard if you’ve got brushy, shrubby, or overgrown borders. If your feeders are near a vegetated edge, towhees may venture out to eat fallen seed.

Ha! See, it is best for birds if you have "brushy, shrubby or overgrown borders"!  Take that, you perfect lawn owner!
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Oh! I have been outside for the past half hour just looking at that beautiful moon.  I wish that Richard could have been here to take some photos for you!  I was able to snap a few, and I will try to remember to share with them you.  The light of the moon was so bright, I was surprised that when I turned to walk back up my steps that I could see my shadow. I could have easily gone on a walk down my street without any kind of flashlight.  (There was a Moonlight hike at Panola Mountain tonight, you know I wish I had been there!)

I hope you all have a good rest of the weekend, restful and peaceful and full of all the good things that you enjoy.  Good night to you, lovely moon!  And sweet dreams to you, dear readers of this blog!



42 comments:

  1. How sweet! I've never seen or heard a towhee, I don't think there are any in Europe (at least not in my part of it).
    If I don't know what bird has produced a certain sound, I ask my Dad - he is very knowledgeable about the birds native to our area. He would, of course, not have been able to tell you that it was the towhee all along calling out Richard's name :-)

    Will you go on the Moonlight hike at Panola Mountain next time? It is just the kind of thing you love, isn't it, and you could tell us all about it here!

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    1. This bird is not that easy to see. My Dad knows lots of birds but he told me he has never seen this one either!
      We were pleased to finally identify the bird that goes with a very familiar birdsong for us!
      And yes, I am still hoping for my moonlight hike at Panola Mountain! You know I will post about it if I ever get to do it!!

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    1. The dawn chorus in England is something that I remember with great fondness.

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  3. What a dear little bird. I don't know him, but I think there are Towhees in ne Ohio...Nowadays it is so much easier to hear the songs of various birds and identify them. Before the internet, much more difficult. My yard is perfect for all the birds that love this sort of habitat....I am not a perfect gardener and am surrounded (by choice) with hedgerows......Just now the goldfinches are bouncing around the yard with their funny way of flying.

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    1. I went on a walk with one of the guides at Panola Mountain, and it was wonderful for him to tell me of all the birds that he could identify by just their song! I recognize a lot of songs, but what bird goes with which song, that is another story!
      I love goldfinches too!

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  4. It was cloudy here so I missed seeing the moon. Hopefully I'll get a peek at it while it's still full. Hope you have a restful and relaxing Sunday.

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    1. There will another super moon in August and September. I think I read that the July moon was the brightest but still, make sure to look out for the full moon the next two months. Such a wonderful thing, just looking up at the moon, completely free and open to all!!

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  5. Thanks for sharing your sweet Eastern towhee. Lucky you, you saw the moon. Our monsoon season is in full swing, so clouds boiled up in a short lashing rain and hail storm that obliterated any view of the sky until after I gave up and went to bed! Fingers crossed for tonight! Have a happy day!

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    1. I took photos of the moon, but one little cloud obscured it for just a few minutes, but that only showed how brightly the light was shining, and it made for an interesting photo! :-)

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  6. Yes, wasn't that Super Moon something! I don't think the Eastern Towhee is found here on the prairies but what a beautiful song!

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    1. Yes! Debra, I loved that moon!! It was truly a lovely sight and I just don't understand why there wasn't crowds of people out looking at it!
      The towhee is a pretty bird, and we are lucky that we see it in our own backyard!

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  7. What a sweet little bird! I don't think we have them down here on the coast.

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    1. I wonder, I bet that you do! The thing is, if you ever see a bird scratching around in the undergrowth...look carefully, you might think it is a robin (robins scratch around in a similar manner) but the male towhee has that dark black head, while the female looks very different, it is more of a light brown head.) You have so many birds on the coast that WE don't have!

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  8. Splendid little bird but not one that we get in Europe methinks.

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    1. Oh no, but for some reason, this reminded me of one of the birds that I remember from England, the chaffinch, and I remember that one of the calls sounds like "You naughty little boy, I'm going to beat you". That is not PC now, but that is what it sounded like!

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  9. Wish we had Towhees here - definitely those rather than TOWIEs which is one of those appalling 'reality' TV shows. Also wish videos would show up on the iPad so i could hear its call but will have to wait until I'm on my PC. Hope you see another beautiful moon tonight and sweet dreams to you too. xx

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    1. Oh dear, I don't see why these reality shows are so popular, but they must be, otherwise, they wouldn't have them on the telly, would they?
      The nice thing about the video, you will hear a dove in the background and I know you have that same bird in England, or else one very much like it, as I remember hearing it when I was in Eastbourne ! (Before the gulls took over!)
      Be sure to look out for the moon for the next two months, they are still supposed to be Super Moons!

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  10. How fun that you've finally found the bird that "sings his song"! One time when they do a moonlight hike, perhaps you could go and tell us about it. It must be very different to see the familiar paths by moonlight.

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    1. Yes! We were well pleased or "chuffed" as they say in England!!
      I hope to do the Moonlight hike one day, but if not, I will just walk up my steep driveway and look at the moon like I did Saturday night! :-)

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  11. It was cloudy last night but I'm hoping for a moon peek tonight! I should have a flock of those birds....My yard borders are VERY full! I'll have to keep my ears open for their song. Enjoy your week!

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    1. Oh good, someone else with full yard borders!! LOL!!
      Hope you have a great week too, my friend!

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  12. I do not think I have had one of those visit here. I do love their calls. I can hear many other bird on the tape also. Hope your week is a great one, xoxo,Susie

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    1. Yes, I thought that was a very good video, I loved hearing the other birdsongs in the background too.
      Have a great week too, sweet Susie! xxx

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  13. Big moon here too.

    The tufted titmouse is a regular at our feeder, but I have no idea what it sounds like. The Eastern Towees looks like a pretty visitor--I don't remember ever seeing one.

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    1. Yes! Glad you got to see the Super Moon too!
      If you read about the Towhee you will see that this bird is not usually easy to spot, but once you see it, you will notice it more often, I promise!

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  14. Oh I missed the moon! We have the Towhee pretty regularly--I saw one just yesterday in the backyard. When I first moved here I thought he was an Oriole!

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    1. It has similar coloring as an Oriole, but I have only seen a picture of an Oriole, mostly on baseball uniforms! LOL!

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  15. Yes...that was a spectacular full moon. I hope you saw the pictures of it taken over Greece. I saw them on the news here, last night....absolutely magnificent.

    What a beautiful little bird. So sweet.

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    1. Thanks for telling me, I just looked at the photos taken in Greece and you are right, perfectly stunning!
      The moon shining through the tall Georgia Pines was very nice also!

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  16. I love to listen to the birds, too. Didn't get to see the super moon, though.

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    1. Oh, I am sorry that you missed the moon. It was a sight to see. Make sure to remember for the next two months, they promise to be nice also. xx

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  17. It was cloudy so I couldn't see the moon. I love birds and their songs.

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    1. Hey John!
      Sorry it was cloudy for you, maybe August or September will be better for you!
      I also love birds and their songs! Like the moon, just free and available to all!

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  18. We missed the moon due to thunderstorms.
    I've only seen towhees here twice. I'll have to listen, now that I know the song.

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    1. We have had a lot of thunderstorms also, so it was good that we had such a good night on Saturday. xx

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  19. Oh oh oh, you know I love towhees!!! Nothing makes me happier than to see the pine needles on our berm flying around. I just know that means he's in there rooting around for a little something to eat. So adorable! Hope you've been well, Kay! XOXO

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    1. Yes! I remember the great photo of the towhee that you had on your blog recently and I know you love them too! Be sure and listen out for that song, "Rich-ARD, sweet, sweet, sweet". Most folks would think "tweet, tweet, tweet" but sweet makes more sense to go with Richard!
      Hope you are well too and enjoying a nice summer with the girls, they might have to start back to school soon, right?

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  20. Apparently Wisconsin is a summer breeding ground for the Eastern Towheee, but I'm not sure I recognise the song. I know what you mean about taking years to find out what bird sings a certain song - if you hear them but can't see them, it's really hard to look them up online!

    Gorgeous cacti in your header. :)

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    1. They do have samples of birdsongs on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website, but each bird can have such different songs! The Towhee usually has that Tow-HEE sound, but then, to have the RICHARD...tweet, tweet, tweet call also, it is so very different!
      And the cacti is from Arabia Mountain, one of my favorite places on Earth!

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  21. Very similar to a Stonechat here.

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    1. Very similar colors, pretty amazing to me.

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