Birding Notes

Reflections on birds and other wildlife on the edge of a southern woodland

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Different Eastern Towhee Song

This morning – another hot, sunny day – a male Eastern Towhee sat on a wire along the road that runs by the old field, singing a song that ends in three sharp, quick tink-tink-tinks. This song is different from a Towhee’s usual drink-your-tea song or to-whee call, and it often takes me a minute to remember what bird it is. The Towhee in the field has been singing it all this week, and maybe longer, and I remember it from previous years. Today I watched him sing this song several times from his perch on the wire.

I have not been able to find any description of this song or a reference to it, except for notes that Eastern Towhees sing a number of different songs that have not been fully described. It is somewhat similar to the drink-your-tea song, except that it’s backward. Instead of beginning with short notes and ending with a trill, this song seems to begin with something like a garbled trill and end with three very crisp, distinct notes. These notes are not rising and falling, but are all the same pitch – tink-tink-tink.


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