Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Little Birding Before Work

I'd need to make a run to the transfer station before work today and would leave a little early to see if the Willow Flycatcher was around yet so stopped at a local powerline to find out.  I'd hear the flycatcher as soon as I got out of the car as well as a close by "Tow-hee" call of the Eastern Towhee so naturally out came my camera for a photo as well as my Droid for some audio.  I'd stay on the path and make my way a little closer to the call when I'd also hear a thin, short and high pitched chip note coming from the same area and after some naked eye scanning I'd find out who it was.

Who would turn out to be the female Towhee.  You can hear the recording of the males "Tow-hee" call and the female's high pitched call below.

I'd do some research on these two calls and both are categorized as alarm calls but you wouldn't know it by looking at them interacting with one another and neither seemed agitated by my presence as I was there a good five minutes and watched the male preen and the female inhale a couple caterpillars so believe they were more contact calls as the male would call and she'd respond and fly closer to him or vice versa.  I did make sure to keep a respectable distance and stay on the path which is something I'm always cognizant of this time of the year so who knows.

I'd also go to Birds of America Online  and figured I'd share some of it with you on both calls.

"Chewink Call.. Conventionally transliterated as tow-heechewinkjoree . Employed by both sexes, juveniles, and adults, and at all seasons. Generally regarded as alarm call, since it occurs in mobbing contexts (i.e., used in presence of ground predators and disturbances near nest), but it occurs in other situations as well."

"Lisp Call. “ Seee -Call” of Stokes and Stokes . Heard in all populations, perhaps second most common call after Chewink Call; uttered by both sexes. It is high-pitched, clear, sibilant, even-pitched (short versions) or down-up slurred (longer versions), duration about 1 s. Tonal quality soft, thin, barely audible beyond few meters distance. Mentioned in literature as weetsee-a- wee-e, or seee. Occurs in social context (e.g., within pairs and families, in foraging groups during winter and migration), evidently functions as contact note."

I do have to admit I'm wondering why the female isn't on her nest as I would think it would be around that time.  All this rain we've had this month has me very concerned about all of our nesting birds here in the North East.

Take care all.


Anne Higgins said...

Wonderful post and photos on the Towhee. This is one of my favorite birds. Thank you!


Jeff said...

One of my favorite calls is the white throated sparrow which I think sounds like a whistling drunk-LOL! I guess they all hold a certain place in our hearts.


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