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mfoster.vt

Eastern Towhee in VT

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Almost positive this is an immature Eastern Towhee.  I had been hearing the chewink call and was looking for a Towhee when this bird popped up.  With that red eye, and looking at pics online, I believe this is a juvenile.  So really my post is more of a question.  I would have thought that last years hatchlings would have already attained adult plumage.  I can't imagine this is this years offspring as the just started showing up here a few weeks ago.  Does it take a Towhee over a year to get adult plumage?

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 Eastern or Spotted, depending on which side of the continent you live on. A young towhee just out of the nest looks almost nothing like the dapper black-and-white adult males. Juveniles are brown and streaky, showing the towhee’s sparrow heritage, the better to stay hidden from threats while the young birds learn the ropes.

By fall these birds will have replaced those streaky body feathers with the more traditional towhee pattern: shiny black on the head and back (brown in females), with chestnut flanks and a white belly. But young birds molt only the body feathers, not the flight feathers in the wings and tail, because flight feathers need to be sturdy and so take more energy to replace. First-year towhees won’t replace their brownish flight feathers until the next fall.

So if you ever see a towhee hopping around your feeder with two-toned wings—nice black or rich brown scapulars and wing coverts; dingy brown primaries, secondaries, and tail—you can be sure that bird is a youngster that just hatched that past summer.

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Thanks all for the help.  I just didn't see the bird ever face me, so I didn't see the possible color pattern of the chest.  There is just a hint of that in this photo, so it makes more sense to me now.

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