Wild Birds Unlimited Newsletter
For those passionate about birding and nature
Nature News
High Desert Bird of the Month

Common Name: Spotted Towhee

Scientific name: Pipilo maculatus                         


How to identify:  

Spotted Towhee's have a thick, pointed bill, short neck, chunky body, and long, rounded tail. Males have jet-black upperparts and throat while their wings and back are spotted bright white. The flanks are rufous red with a white belly. Females have the same pattern but are warm brown where males are black.



Look for Spotted Towhees in open, shrubby habitat with thick undergrowth. Spotted Towhees are also at home in backyards, forest edges, and overgrown fields.


Where to find one:

Their warm rufous flanks match the dry leaves they spend their time hopping around in. The birds can be hard to see in the leaf litter, so your best chance for an unobstructed look at this bird may be in the spring, when males climb into the shrub tops to sing their buzzy songs. 


How to attract one to your yard:

Spotted Towhees eat mainly insects including ground beetles, weevils, ladybugs, darkling beetles, click beetles, wood-boring beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars, moths, bees, and wasps. They also eat acorns, berries, and seeds including buckwheat, thistle, raspberry, blackberry, poison oak, sumac, nightshade, chickweed, and crops such as oats, wheat, corn, and cherries. In fall and winter, these plant foods make up the majority of their diet.  Having a seed cylinder with mealworms and berries is a good way to attract these birds to your yard. 


Interesting fact:  

Male towhees have been recorded spending 70 percent to 90 percent of their mornings singing attempting to attract a mate.


Go to the WBU site for more Bird of the Month articles.



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Nature Happenings


Project FeederWatch continues www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw

In a heavy snow year, meadowlarks can be seen eating mealworms along with cracked corn.

Wildflowers might begin to bloom if snowfall is light. You might see Western Trillium, Bitteroot and Larkspur.


Check bird houses for damage and clean them before spring birds arrive.


Meadowlarks can be heard singing.

Killdeer call for their mates and can show up in the most unlikely places seeking out suitable nesting sites.

Townsend's Solitare are often seen on their favorite food source - Juniper berries.

Male American Robins can often be heard before dawn defining their territory and calling for a mate. They are also the last birds calling in the evening.

Male Red-shafted Northern Flickers can be heard throughout the day defining their territory and showing off for potential mates.


Sandhill Cranes can be seen returning from the south. 


Bears emerge from hibernation this month. 


Red-tailed Hawks pair up for breeding. 


March is our highest precipitation month of the year. 


Peak of Bald Eagle migration. 


Great Horned Owls are sitting on their eggs. 


Red-winged Blackbirds, Killdeer and Great Blue Herons return.


Celebrating 10 years in Reno, NV! 
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