Friday, May 10, 2013

Eastern Towhee

This male Eastern Towhee preferred to go unnoticed.  I had to get down very low to see him.  Because they hide deep inside forest thickets, to scratch the leaf litter for food, you also need luck to find one…I got lucky today.

His female companion was more accommodating to pictures.  She was singing out her song and making her presence known in plain sight.  My friend, Fred Thorne, and I were searching for new birds in the Lion’s Den Gorge, south of Port Washington, Wisconsin when we came across this pair.  

Huge bird migrations are passing through Wisconsin right now. Although, some birds will make Wisconsin their home, many species are on their way to someplace else. It’s the occasional and rare birds, only present during these migrations, which Fred and I were looking for today.   

We waited for the male to come into view, but he was having no part in pictures.  Uncharacteristically, the female was a lot less skittish and even posed for a while.

Fred was faster than me and made this picture of the male when he briefly appearance to announce himself.   He quickly retreated.  

Two days later Fred and I were back in the Lion’s Den Gorge after reports of another rare bird sighting, the Western Tanager.  We had no luck finding the tanager, but I was able to get two more good angles on the Eastern Towhee.  He was singing out on a low branch.

After briefly claiming his territory with a song, he retreated into the thicket again.  He’s more comfortable in dense cover, so that is where you’ll need to look to find one. The Eastern Towhee will be in Wisconsin for the next six months, until the fall out-migration, so you have time to search.