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Green-tailed Towhee, a Western Wanderer

Published February 14, 2018
Tags: General Observations, Green-tailed Towhee

Just the other day, Alec Humann said we were due for a Green-tailed Towhee out here in the east.  What?  I didn't even think this species migrated and therefore not prone to wandering.  Well, indeed, they DO migrate!  They are primarily found from Oregon down through southeastern New Mexico, migrating a short distance to winter in southern Arizona, southern Texas, and into Mexico.  And every once in a great while, one winds up in the east for some, strange reason.  A result of storms, winds, some defiance to keep to the norm?  Who knows, but it can happen.

Donna Carter, a birder who lives near the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, had one of these marvelous visits from a Green-tailed Towhee this past weekend.  Her road is narrow with a curve near the house, so visitations needed to be scheduled to keep large crowds from causing safety issues.

Our scheduled day was Monday - but the towhee never made an appearance that day. It was a quiet ride home for the four of us from WNY.  Surprisingly, it was seen again the following day, so Willie, Celeste, and I headed out on Wednesday to give it another shot (minus Betsy this time).  After a couple of hours of anxious watching, I finally spotted it low in the brush behind the feeders. Eventually, the bird gave everyone present some great looks as it hopped up onto a tray feeder, staying for well over a minute.  Scope views were terrific - but camera photos stunk, unfortunately, because of the distance.  BUT - I wanted a record of this cool, state bird, so I'm including them here!

After two long trips for this bird, we were rewarded with a wonderful Valentine's Day gift! Hopefully, the bird will continue to show for many more days, giving New York birders the chance to add it to their state lists.
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Green-tailed Towhee
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Green-tailed Towhee
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Green-tailed Towhee
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Northern Mockingbird seen on Monday's disappointing trip.