[Tweeters] (My) Worlds Fastest Towhee

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Tue May 27 08:37:05 PDT 2014

Sitting here at my temporary digs in Port Townsend this morning I saw a sight so incredible I almost spit out my coffee. I could hardly believe I even saw what I did.
Sitting here at my computer I have a nice view of my parents yard out the window and have seen many neato things from my desk.
This morning I looked up just in time to see a particularly brilliant male Spotted Towhee land atop the nearby cedar fence. It sat there just a bit then ran - and I mean RAN- down the top edge of the fence about 12 ft and disappeared behind a hedge. It was so fast it was funny.
As I've posted before, my parents yard and neighborhood is Towhee rich, unlike my depauperate Towhee habitat in Everett. I've seen plenty of Towhees over the decades, flying, hopping, and digging around. I've never seen one run before, at least not at high speed atop a fence.
I have seen other fast running birds - Crissal Thrasher in New Mexico comes to mind as an incredibly zippy runner under the mesquite. Quail can be quite fast on the ground. But a Towhee? If there had been any dust atop that fence, I'm sure the Towhee would've left behind a little cloud just like in a Roadrunner cartoon.
The male Towhee running head down and in a hurry must have had a good reason - another male on his territory I suppose. Who knows.
Jeff Gibsonreporting fromPort Townsend Wa

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