Some Birds I Have Seen On Our
Rutgers University Camden Campus

Pictures taken with Panasonic GS15 & GS19
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Eastern Towhee also known as Rufus-sided Towhee


MS Photo Story presentation - late afternoon MS Photo Story presentation - late afternoon
Digital images taken with Panasonic GS-19  at BSB (April 24, 2007).  Left is the male and right is the female in the late afternoon
 

 


 

This bird was first seen on the west side of BSB on May 3, 2005.  There was also the Swainson's Thrush and an Ovenbird in the same area - they were moving like a pair about midway along the building.  I then saw a pair of Catbirds further toward the front of the building when I saw this bird under a bush.  I had a bad angle and bad shadows but I was finally able to see some coloration when it flew up into a small pine tree on the southwest corner of BSB.  It sat in the tree with a Catbird.  I could see definite black and white in the wings and white in the tail when it flew.  I was able to get some video when it flew into a small tree on the street.  I would never be able to try to track the bird without video.

By process of elimination I'm guessing that it is an Eastern Towhee.  I thought it was an Eastern Kingbird but it doesn't have the white strip across the end of the tail.  It does have white feathers on the side of the tail.  It's about the size of a Catbird.  It could be a Mockingbird - the tail is right but that seems wrong for a host of reasons: the beak looks too small; the coloration of a black back and distinctive white stripes is strange for a Mockingbird which should be gray; it was with Catbirds which are usually competitors; it didn't fly up to me looking for raisins.
Click here for video in Windows Media format  Click here for MS Photo Story presentation
Frames clipped from video Panasonic GS-15 (2005) - at Business and Science Building. Mouse click on pictures to see videos.

The white stripes down the side of the tail are easily visible here.  I couldn't get any frames that show it's front which should show some reddish coloration and would confirm what it is.

  Click here for a streamed version of video.

On Friday April 28, 2006 around lunch time I saw this bird by the Fine Arts building.  I couldn't get my camera out in time.  I did see the red side and the white front of this bird. It is also known as the Rufus-sided Towhee.  When it flew away from me, I could see the white triangles on its tail.  As it flew away I did not see any white in its wings which I think I should have seen if it's the same type of bird as above which has a lot of white visible on the wings when it is perched.  The scenario of how I saw this bird is identical to how I saw the Eastern Phoebe.  The location is the same - south side of Fine Arts.  I heard the birds' call first and noted that it was an unusual sound.  I then noticed the movement in the same bushes and the bird emerging into the birch trees that are there.  The Phoebe then flew toward the Library while the Towhee flew in the direction of the College Center.

On Sunday May 7, 2006 I was in the office for a few hours and decided to take a walk.  I wandered over to the garden next to Admissions.  Along the back street I noticed a Mockingbird on the phone lines.   I dropped some raisons but it was not interested - not all the Mockingbirds recognize me.  I did notice another Mockingbird in a small tree by the Student Center.  It was about fifty feet away.  I walked into the garden and just then two birds flew quickly by me.  The second Mockingbird was chasing a Rufus-sided Towhee.  A few seconds later the Mockingbird came back and landing on a bench about twelve feet from me and gave me that "got any raisins?" look.  I dropped some, stepped back and the bird flew down to eat some.

Finally I was able to get some good video of this bird.  It is very camera shy.  Late Thursday afternoon May 11, 2006 I encountered this bird at Fine Arts.



Frames clipped from video Panasonic GS-19 (May 11, 2006) - at Quad area near Fine Arts and Science Building. Mouse click on pictures to see videos.
 


 

Early in the morning of May 12, 2006 this bird was seen again near the Robeson Library (east side of the "Quad" area).

The bird was still in the area late in the afternoon of May 12, 2006.
 I capture some frames that show the white features in its tail.



Frames clipped from video Panasonic GS-19  at Fine Arts  (May 12, 2006). Click on picture to see video.


This bird was easily viewable in the Quad area during early May 2006.  I captured some videos where the bird is interacting with a Cardinal.

Frames clipped from video Panasonic GS-19  at Fine Arts (May 2006)
See first video in Windows Media Player.    See first video in Real Player.



Frames clipped from video Panasonic GS-19  at Fine Arts (May 2006).
See second video in Windows Media Player.    See second video in Real Player.

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Late in the afternoon October 19, 2006 I saw this bird on the west side of BSB.  I only caught a quick glimpse when my Mockingbird flew down and chased it toward the back of BSB.  That is where I was able to get some poor footage of the Rufus-sided Towhee (Eastern Towhee).


Frames clipped from video Panasonic GS-19  at BSB (October 19, 2006).

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Digital images from video Panasonic GS-85  at BSB (April 3, 2007).

Late Tuesday afternoon April 3, 2007 I saw the Towhee on the west side of BSB.  There were a couple of Robins in the area.  The Robins ignored me but this bird kept moving away from me.  But I did get one image of it's tail display.

 



Frames clipped from video Panasonic GS-85  at BSB (April 23, 2007).

Arriving at work, Monday morning April 23, 2007, I saw this bird on the west side of BSB.  At first I thought it was a Junko from the flash of white feathers in its tail.  Then I realized the size difference and looked closer to see that it was a Towhee.  It was singing in the Serviceberry Bush.  I got out my camera and captured some video.  The bird then flew toward the back of the building and away from me.  I continued toward the front of the building and spotted another one at the front corner of the building.  I have never seen two at the same time.  Just then I heard the first one singing again at the back of the building.  I walked back that way to capture some audio.  The sun was at a bad angle so I knew I couldn't get video.  As I was recording the song I noticed two Towhees in the low bushes.  They both moved into the shaded area in front of me.  One seemed to have a duller coloration and was probably a female.  I got some poor video of this this encounter.  But now I have seen three in the same area.

 

 

MS Photo Story presentation on morning sighting MS Photo Story presentation on morning sighting
Digital images taken with Panasonic GS-19  at BSB (April 24, 2007).  Left is the male and right is the female in the morning

Coming into the office on Tuesday Morning April 24, 2007 I found the same birds in the same area.  This time I was able to get images of the female.  As I was walking toward the building there was a Robin chirping in one of the small trees.  It saw me but ignored me.  As I moved closer to the building I saw the female Towhee pecking at the ground.  Just then the Robin flew out of the tree and right past me.  It came within a foot of me.  I got the idea it was warning the other birds that I was there.  The Towhee leisurely wandered off under the bushes but I was able to get some pictures further on along the building.  I also got some shots of the male.

 

 


MS Photo Story presentation - late afternoon MS Photo Story presentation - late afternoon
Digital images taken with Panasonic GS-19  at BSB (April 24, 2007).  Left is the male and right is the female in the late afternoon
At the end of the same day I was able to get my best images ever.  There were 2 pairs in the area.  These are the photos at the top of the WEB page.

 

Coming into the office on Friday Morning October 19, 2007 I noticed one of these birds.  It was a male and it was under the bushes on the west side of BSB.  I saw one earlier in the fall - only got a glimpse of the white stripe in the tail as it and a few other birds flew away from me.  I always think "Junko" when I see the white tail stripes but in the summer and fall it's the Towhee.

 

 

 

On Monday April 7, 2008 I was walking into work across the parking lot.  Jason had arrived the same time so we were headed toward the back door of BSB together.  He went in but I told him I was going to walk around to the front of the building because "I was awaiting the arrival of the Rufus-sided Towhees".  I said it partially as a joke but on the following Wednesday, the 9th, they did show up - a male on the west side of BSB. 

Digital images taken with Panasonic GS-19  at BSB (April 9, 2008).
 

 

On Monday April 14, 2008 around lunch time there was a male in the bushes at Fine Arts.  In the video you can hear the peeping of what is probably the female.
Video in Windows Media format Video in Real Media format
Frames clipped from video Panasonic GS-19  at Fine Arts  (April 14, 2008).

 

On Tuesday April 15, 2008 I saw a pair of Towhees again in the same area of File Arts.

Again on Thursday, the 17th, they were in the same area.

On Tuesday April 22, 2008 very late in the afternoon I heard one of these on the west side of BSB.  I stopped to investigate the sound and while I was feeding one of my Mockingbirds, a male Towhee came out from under the low bushes and flew toward the back of the building.

On Friday April 25, 2008 (Best birding day ever) I saw this bird a few times and captured some images very late in the day in the Fine Arts area:
Video in Windows Media format
MS Photo Story presentation Video in Real Media format

Frames clipped from video Panasonic GS-19  at Fine Arts  (April 25, 2008).

 

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Ed McHugh, OIT Camden Computing Service.
Copyright 2004 [OIT Camden]. All rights reserved.
Revised: Friday, May 02, 2008

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