Guest Author - Lisa Shea
The Rufous-sided towhee is for many a summer bird, arriving in mid to late April and leaving in the fall. It is robin-sized, and is often noticed because of the flurry of leaves it causes when it hops in them. This is its way of digging up insects and other small critters. The video in this article shows one doing just that!
Named Pipilo erythrophthalmus, there is a red-eyed, white-eyed, and a spotted variety. The male has a black back and wing and orange-brown sides, with a white belly. The female has brown back and wings, orange-brown sides and a white belly. They are found in most of the US.
In addition to insects, the towhee also enjoys fruits and berries, as well as sunflower seeds and cracked corn. They really don't go up to the feeder, though. They enjoy jumping around in the seeds below, either eating a seed or two or munching on the insects that will hang out in that area.
Towhees are not really flock birds. You normally just see a pair of them arrive in your back yard. They will raise a small family and then leave for warmer climes in the winter.
Video of the Towhee Jumping in Seeds
More Photos of the Rufous-Sided Towhee
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Photos by Lisa Shea