Daily Archives: March 17, 2018

Tea-kettle is on

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Carolina Wren perched on an old treehouse in the banyan next door. This bird was singing very loudly and I went out to see what it was.

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I was standing 20 feet away and it didn’t seem too concerned.

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This shy bird can be hard to see, but it delivers an amazing number of decibels for its size. Follow its teakettle-teakettle! and other piercing exclamations through backyard or forest, and you may be rewarded with glimpses of this bird’s rich cinnamon plumage, white eyebrow stripe, and long, upward-cocked tail.

2018 bird #50

Listen to the song on Vimeo: Teakettle Bird

Blue-headed vireo

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This is a Blue-headed Vireo, I now know.

Vireos are a hard category for relatively new birders like me. When I got home from my morning walk in Sewall’s Point with camera, I downloaded my photos, saw this one, and Google “warbler white eye ring two wing bars” then looked at the photos that came up. Looked like a Blue-headed Vireo but I thought I would get confirmation from What’s This Bird? on Facebook…

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The power of the internet.

So they are not warblers.

Audubon.org: How to Tell Vireos From Warblers, Flycatchers, and Kinglets
Before you start identifying vireos, you need to stop confusing them with other similar families of songbirds.

Florida bird #79 and 2018 bird #49.

Towhee in Savannas Preserve

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Most of the Savannas Preserve State Park looks like this, open grassland with slash pine and saw palmetto plus some wetlands. I walked there with a friend yesterday and we looked for birds.

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In a scrubby area, we heard a rustling in the bushes and a loud whistled call with a rising note. I somehow managed to focus my camera into the tangle.

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Eastern Towhee, a large New World sparrow. It’s the second one I’ve ever seen. The first was a female in May 2016 in our old New Hampshire backyard: My first towhee.

This one’s a male. Cornell Lab of Ornithology…

Males are striking: bold sooty black above and on the breast, with warm rufous sides and white on the belly. Females have the same pattern, but are rich brown where the males are black.

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Eastern Towhees are characteristic birds of forest edges, overgrown fields and woodlands, and scrubby backyards or thickets. The most important habitat qualities seem to be dense shrub cover with plenty of leaf litter for the towhees to scratch around in.

Towhees eat many foods: seeds, fruits, insects, spiders, millipedes, centipedes, and snails, as well as soft leaf and flower buds in spring. They also eat seeds and fruits, including ragweeds, smartweeds, grasses, acorns, blackberries, blueberries, wheat, corn, and oats.

And from the Audubon Field Guide

Sometimes secretive but often common, this bird may be noticed first by the sound of industrious scratching in the leaf-litter under dense thickets. In the nesting season, males become bolder, singing from high perches. In some areas this bird is commonly known as “Chewink,” after the sound of its callnote. In parts of the Southeast and Florida, the towhees have white eyes.

More on the song/ call from Wikipedia

The song is a short drink your teeeeea lasting around one second, starting with a sharp call (“drink!”) and ending with a short trill “teeeeea”. The name “towhee” is onomatopoeic description of one of the towhee’s most common calls, a short two-part call rising in pitch and sometimes also called a “chewink” call.