Feed on

Spotted Towhee

Utah has a huge list of birds that I’ve never seen.  According to my stats on Birdpost, I’ve seen only 168 out of 312 in Salt Lake County.  Well, a couple of weeks ago I got to add a bird that I never expected to see here: the Spotted Towhee.


I saw the first Spotted Towhee on March 12, 2011 at the Red Butte Gardens when there wasn’t too much snow on the ground.


But the two pictures that I captured of the towhee weren’t good enough to post.  It’s funny, when I first saw the flash of orange and black I wondered if the Black-headed Grosbeaks were back.  In my post on these birds, I compared them to a Spotted Towhee so my instincts were pretty good.  So I came back last weekend to get a better picture, even though there was a lot more snow around.


This time I saw at least six Spotted Towhees!  It’s hard to know precisely because they were all flying around looking for bugs in the dirt.  They’re such secretive birds that I had to count some visually and count others by theirs sounds.  Here’s a secretive towhee peering at me.


The Spotted Towhees forage on the ground for insects.  I want to show you the series of this guy scrabbling around in the dirt.





It will be interesting to see how long they stay because I never saw them last year.

5 Responses to “Spotted Towhee”

  1. Tiffany says:

    Cool to see them this year after nothing last. I especially love the second picture, where he’s in the tangle of a dormant plant. Neat looking bird, very contrasty, which I imagine is good camouflage.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Do you see them in your town? I just saw one at the Getty that I’m going to post about today or tomorrow because he looks a little different in direct sunlight.

  3. Tiffany says:

    I have not seen one here, only the California Towhee. Looking forward to seeing the Getty ST.

  4. CedarKey Cindy says:

    Love these. They are such sneaky birds.

    We have Rufuous sided Towhees and they are very secretive. The male and female are very different and they come to my feeder area for water and to scratch for bugs. They kick the pine straw like chickens would – it is a riot to watch. We’ve had a lot of that family lately – the Brown Thrashers, robins, mockingbirds, and towhees all at the feeder area at once. I’m thinking of investing in new glass for my office window so I can take photos…

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Nice! We saw Canyon Towhees and Green-tailed Towhees in Arizona. I have fantastic shots of the Green-tailed. We also saw Curve-billed Thrashers. One woke me up super early with his “whit-whit” noise. When you answered him he became very agitated.