Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Spotted Towhee

Over the past couple of weeks, Jake Langeslag of Faribault enjoyed a Spotted Towhee at his bird feeder. Last week  Erika and I combined errands with a visit to the feeder. In a few minutes, the towhee obligingly made an appearance. I forgot to load the battery into my camera and took the photo above with Jake’s camera. I have previously posted about towhees. Both Spotted and Eastern Towhees stray north of their normal winter range and Spotted Towhees, which are western birds, are rare winter wanderers across the eastern United States.

Last spring, in the Canon River Wilderness Area of Rice County, I got excited when I found the Eastern Towhee in the lower photo—was it actually a Spotted Towhee? Sibley shows a white wing patch but not the white scapulars visible on my photo. The National Geographic Birds of North America, however, depicts the Eastern Towhee identical to my bird. One key to telling these two species apart is the spotted back of the Spotted Towhee.

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