Eastern Towhee © Matt Filosa

Take 5: Towhee Takeover

It’s an exciting time of year! More and more migratory birds are returning to Massachusetts each week, including the strikingly patterned Eastern Towhee.

With its bold black throat, head, back, and tail, reddish-brown sides, and white belly, this large sparrow cuts a handsome figure—if you can spot one. They spend a lot of time in thick underbrush or rummaging around in leaf litter for forage so you may hear them more than you see them, but they can be enticed to visit your bird feeder, especially during the breeding season and if your yard’s edges are overgrown.

The classic mnemonic for the male towhee’s mating song is drink-your-tea! with the “tea” dragging out in a musical trill, while both sexes will employ a rising chewink call. Listen for both along forest edges with dense thickets and tangles.

Learn more about what to look for in nature this time of year in the Outdoor Almanac and enjoy these five photo contest submissions of Eastern Towhees.

Eastern Towhee © Amy Martin
Eastern Towhee © Amy Martin
Eastern Towhee © Susan Wellington
Eastern Towhee © Susan Wellington
Eastern Towhee © Evan Lipton
Eastern Towhee © Evan Lipton
Eastern Towhee © Mike Duffy
Eastern Towhee © Mike Duffy
Eastern Towhee © Matt Filosa
Eastern Towhee © Matt Filosa

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