As with many songbirds, the vocalizations of towhees break down into two categories: songs and calls. Songs are used by males to establish territory and to attract a mate. (Though the females of some other species, such as cardinals, are also known to sing.) Calls are used by both sexes for a variety of purposes such as alarm and communication between adults and young.For more of this column by Gary Pendleton, see Onomatopoeia in the Blackberry Bush.
The name towhee comes from the sounds of the birds’ two-syllable call, with the accent on the second syllable. But what may sound like towhee to you, might sound like chewink to a New Englander, and in some regions chewink is the bird’s colloquial name.
Friday, August 26, 2005
Posted by John Beetham at 8/26/2005