Friday, July 9, 2010
More on the bird's nest
It had been a few days since I took the photo of the bird's nest that was on my blog yesterday. This morning I took a sneak peek at the birds again and I was very surprised by the presence of three baby birds rather than three bird's eggs. A lot can happen in a few days. I don't know how long it takes, but the babies were hatched and I think it is a precious sight.
They are little fuzzy bits of skin, beeks, wings and spindly bodies right now. It's hard to tell they will soon be flying around my sister's front yard.
I thought the eggs looked sort of like those laid by house sparrows, but my sister said that wasn't correct. It is very hard to identify birds from eggs. She didn't know exactly what kind of bird it was, but said it was a larger black bird with white on the wings and reddish on the sides and some white underneath. I wasn't sure, but I thought it might be the Eastern Towhee, a fairly common bird around here.
She looked it up on the Internet and, sure enough, the mother bird is an Eastern Towhee.
Towhees dig and scratch around in the underbrush around shrubs and in the woods. They search for food by sifting through forest litter or the mulch that we so carefully place around shrubs. Their main food is bugs, seeds, worms or berries. Sometimes, when you blame your pet for digging around in the mulch, the culprit could possibly be the Towhee. If you hear a rustling in the woods or in the leaves it just might be the Towhee, because they are pretty noisy in their search for food.
They might come around bird feeders, but they don't feed from them. They prefer to eat the seeds that other birds drop under the feeder.
I think one of the most interesting things about the Towhee is their song. Their song has two notes and then a trill. Very quick, and repeated over and over. Sometimes birdwatchers and researchers make up cute and silly phrases to help us remember the songs of birds and tell the difference between birds of different species. For instance, a cardinal's call is "Pretty, Pretty, Pretty, Pretty." For the Eastern Towhee the phrase for their song is, "Drink your tea." It is silly, but the first time I heard a Towhee's song, I thought the phrase really did fit the song.
Eastern Towhees are not as plentiful around here as they used to be, so I am glad to see they are still around. I just wanted to let you know about the "blessed event," and that I was wrong about the species.