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Eastern Towhees Migrating

10-10-13  rufous-sided towheeIMG_0471In general, populations of Eastern Towhees in the northern part of their range are short distance migrants, whereas populations south of Virginia tend to be year round residents. The last of northern New England’s migrating Eastern Towhees are departing for southern climes right now (a few brave souls stay put, and are seen intermittently during the winter, especially during warmer winters). Although we don’t observe them migrating, as they do so during the night, we do see them when they stop to refuel on fruits, seeds or insects during the day.

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5 responses

  1. Marilyn

    What a great photo! I haven’t seen a towhee in several years. Their call is memorable.

    October 9, 2013 at 12:55 pm

  2. Actually I think there mere may be migrant towhees nesting in Virginia too. I believe the residents in the south are of a different race–and in my Virginian father’s day, it was considered a separate species–The White-eyed Towhee. (“our” race being called the Red-eyed Towhee–both “species” very well named…)

    Meade Cadot

    October 9, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    • You’re right, Meade, it’s not quite as black and white as I made it sound, and I should have mentioned the two races in the East!. According to Birds of North America online, “Southeastern and Gulf state populations evidently largely sedentary or partly migratory (Dickinson 1952); details of withdrawal, if any, of southern birds largely obscured by influxes of northern birds. ” Thanks so much for catching this!

      October 9, 2013 at 4:13 pm

  3. Mary, if they are traveling at night, then during the fuller moon phases (called, here in Alberta by the native people and bands, ‘Ducks Flying Moon’) – ?

    October 9, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    • I’m not actually sure about this, Pam, but it would make sense!

      October 9, 2013 at 4:14 pm

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