My mama always says the Rufous-sided Towhee is her favorite. It’s fun to say, not to mention it’s an awesome looking bird that’s always engaged in some kind of interesting towhee activity. It was a sad day for me when, in 1995, I learned that the Rufous was no more. The bird had been reclassified as the Eastern and Spotted Towhees. It felt like I lost a best friend, like a species went extinct. To this day I still refer to them as rufous, maybe out of protest but also because I’m sure it’s what they prefer to be called. For years all I ever saw of the towhees was the very tips of their tails as they darted away into the woods, but that all changed the day I came across this gal preening as the sun came up. And preen she did! For ten minutes I waited for a shot but she would have none of it.
Here’s another example of a towhee hamming it up for the camera. I think she would be furious to find out I posted this picture on the interwebs, what with that silly smirk and ruffled feathers!