Plate 8: Towhee Bunting

Pipilo erythrophthalmus

Nests & Eggs: Towhee Bunting

Energetic and cheerful bird that appears before the trees are in leaf.

Towhees inhabit thickets, bushes and brushy areas, and spend most of their time scratching thru litter which covers the ground in such locations. When disturbed, they usually utter the call note which gave them their name. Opinions differ as to sounds made, so these birds are referred to as “Towhees,” “Jorees” or “Chewinks.” Some call them “Ground Robins,” since they feed on the ground and a part of their plumage resembles that of our Robins.

Towhees are smaller than Robins. The male shows 3 distinct colors; the head, throat, back, wings and tail are black; sides are rusty, and the belly, outer tips of the tail and wing spots are white. The female is browner but easily identified by the color pattern. Western birds are called Spotted Towhees, since their wings and backs show more white feathers. Both have red eyes. Those who do their birding along the coast from South Carolina to Florida will find birds with lighter irises and referred to as White-eyed Towhees.

These birds nest on the ground but do most of their singing from tops of trees. Songs vary and may include a series of notes or 1 or 2 notes followed by a trill.

Introduction to Our Bird Friends, Vol II
  • Print out the notebooking pages provided below.
  • Read the Towhee story in Bird Biographies out loud.
  • Have a younger student orally narrate what was read. He can then copy a few lines of his narration onto the notebooking pages.
  • Older students can read the text, Plate VIII: Towhee Bunting, and provide a written narration.
  • Sketch the bird. This encourages attention to detail, which will aid in identifying the bird later on. Another option is to use the printables provided below.
  • Sketch the nest of the bird, along with the eggs. Note where the nest is usually found.
  • Older students can include the taxonomy.
  • Learn more about the Eastern Towhee at Cornell.
  • On one notebooking page note the facts:
    • Description.
    • Habitat.
    • Range.
    • Food.
    • Nest.
    • Eggs.
    • Call.
  • The Towhee is covered in The Burgess Bird Book: CHAPTER XXXII. Peter Saves a Friend and Learns Something.
Additional Resources

30 Narration Ideas
At some point you might appreciate some variety.

The Bird Study sections of our free nature study series: Our Wonderful World:

Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World
Printables & Notebooking Pages

Eastern Towhee Notebooking Pages
Free simple notebooking set.

Bird picture for notebook.

Cheewink the Towhee
Corresponding print from The Burgess Bird Book.

Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book

Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book
Dover Nature Coloring Book based on Fifty Birds of Town and City by Bob Hines. Includes the towhee.

Eastern Towhee Range Map
For notebook from Cornell.

Bird Facts Notebooking Page
One option in a more graphic organizer style that is especially nice for noting the facts and range.

Enjoy the entire series:


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