Spotted Towhee [Pipilo maculatus] ~ 2016 #34

Spotted Towhee
Spotted Towhee ~ Burnaby Lake, Burnaby, BC ~ Feb 27, 2016

My 34th bird for the year was first spotted at Burnaby Lake at the end of February. Although these birds are abundant they are really hard to photograph as they are pretty shy and will fly away if I’m even thinking of approaching them. I lucked out on this day and the Towhee above even sat still for a moment while I snapped his photo.

For the picture below my son had put some seed on the fence, and my camera and I sat at the end trying to get shots as the birds were coming to get their loot.  I like the detail of his face feathers (click to get larger image).

Spotted Towhee
Spotted Towhee ~ Burnaby Lake, Burnaby, BC ~ Feb 27, 2016

Spotted Towhees are large sparrows (belonging to the Emberizidae family) and are found mostly on the west side of North America. When bird hunting I usually hear them before I see them, as their call is quite distinctive. When I first started birding up in the Lillooet area they would kind of scare me a bit as they’d make so much noise scratching at the leaf litter, hidden in the darkness of all the bushes and trees, and I’d half expect a small bear or at least a racoon sized creature to come out from the dense brush.

Spotted Towhee
Spotted Towhee ~ Lillooet, BC ~ June 2015


  1. I think this is the bird I heard yesterday at Maplewood. It was nice enough to stay when I walked closer and closer to the tree it was in. I’ve tried and tried to get photos of birds there with no luck. Yesterday I think what I photographed was this one. It had a nice song and just sang and sang it.

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