This time of year the summer resident, the American Robin, has usually flown south and the Spotted Towhee is in its place, looking somewhat like the robin with orange sides and grayish black speckled wings and back.
The Spotted Towhee, a large sparrow, is easy to identify. Its head and back are dark black and its wings are dark black with white spots. Its sides are rusty orange while its breast and belly are white.It is everywhere in the Powell River area right now.
The Spotted Towhee prefers to nest, live and eat, in and under shrubs, bushes, and thickets where it can be found scratching through leaf mulch looking for seeds and insects. The Spotted Towhee likes a winter handout, too, and can often be found frequenting neighbourhood bird feeders.
The American Robin is a common sight right across North America. It can usually be found tugging worms out of the ground or singing its cheery song from branches of nearby trees.
The American Robin is known for its warm orange breast and its trilling song, used particularly during mating and nesting time. Fruit is the American Robin’s winter food source; it migrates more in response to food than to temperature. The return of the American Robin to more northerly climes is recognized as a sign that spring has arrived, but to the robin it means there is a new food source – berries.
Pink Robins are only found in south-eastern Australia. It is a small, tubby bird and is easily over-looked being quieter than the other robins. Males are brownish-black above, with a black throat and head. It has a pink wash on the breast which extends right down under the belly. Females are a warm olive-brown above, with cinnamon buff underparts with a pinkish tint. It is an active feeder, darting out from a perch to snatch at insects, then returning to another perch.
Pink Robins breeding habitats have been reduced by the clear-felling of Australian rainforest, affecting the species’ overall breeding success.
This species is listed as vulnerable in New South Wales. (birdsinbackyards.net)