The Eastern Towhee is the "Drink Your Tea!" bird seen all along the East coast, the deep South to Florida and in Winter west to Texas. It gets its name from its Tow- Heeeee call. When heard by a number of Towhees it sounds like an invitation to have tea.
The male and female look very different from each other. For a while when I saw them visiting our platform feeders I believed I had two different birds hopping backwards around.
The female as shown above is mostly light brown with rusty red-brown sides and a white belly. The male is mostly a suetty black with dirty red-brown sides and a white belly. Another oddity besides the different colours is the bird has white eyes in the Southern states and red eyes elsewhere.
Tne Towhee is 30% larger than a Sparrow but smaller than a Robin. They are insect, fruit and seed eaters. In the Summer you find Towhees under bushes looking for insects and dropped fruit. In Winter they will come to platform or ground feeders filled with plenty of seeds and they will eat seeds off the top of dead flower heads in your backyard.
Mating in the Spring starts when the male begins his hunt for a female singing a soft whispered version of the tow-hee song. Once paired the female will build a cup-like nest no higher than 5 feet off the ground in a thicket of some type. In their nest, 3 to 5 creamy white to pale grey with brown spots on the larger end eggs will be found with the female incubating them 12- 13 days.
Both parents feed the nestlings with the young leaving the nest in about 10 to 12 days after hatching. Some will stay with their parents for a time. Most Towhee pair will have 2 broods a year except in the deep South where a 3rd brood is possible.
The Towhee population has sadly declined in the Northeast in recent years. However, it has remained somewhat stable elsewhere.