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Apr 15, 2011

A teapot of towhees

Photo by BarrytheBirder
Eastern Towhee
Pipilo erythrophthalmus
My friend and neighbour, Canadian author, Heather Robertson called yesterday asking me about the identity of a bird, in her backyard, which she did not recognize.   Her description clearly suggested an Eastern Towhee.   This is the first one I have heard of this year, hereabouts, and it is obviously eager to be about the business of spring ritualizing.   I took the towhee picture, above, last spring, in my own backyard, when it was was much warmer, early in April.   Today is April 15 and despite a bright sun, it is still cool outdoors and the grass has not grown yet, here, a half north of Toronto.   Towhees are common in southern Ontario, but are mainly found in the eastern half of the United States, where they number around 11 million in this day and age.   I really like the collective noun 'teapot' or 'tangle' of towhees.   I'm not sure why these names were chosen, but their alliterative appeal is obvious.   Please comment if you wish, especially if you know the origin of 'teapot of towhees'.

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