[Tweeters] Fun with Towhee

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Wed May 28 08:17:54 PDT 2014

I was so inspired by Rob Sandelin's robin observations that I decided to do a follow-up on my running Towhee observation. Rob, I like the way you take observation to the "next step" of organized examination- things that typically I wouldn't think of doing.
I was so gobsmacked at my observation yesterday of an incredibly zippy male Towhee running along a fence top, that I didn't even consider the possibility of getting some data.
OK, so this is after the fact, but I was thinking if Rob could time the average worm finding time of a Robin, I could do some math. So first off I measured the fence run the Towhee did yesterday and it turned out to be 11ft, not 12ft as I posted. For math purposes I evened it out to ten feet.
Using advanced NSI (Natural Scene Investigation) techniques I worked on recreating the timeline. First I got out my cell phone stop watch and practiced calling out seconds, you know, 1001, 1002 etc, till I got my cadence right - it took a few minutes. Then, sitting here at my desk I started the count, moving my finger along my view of the fencetop Towhee run. I tested over and over, and came up with 2 seconds or less each time. That was a generous amount of time compared to what I saw. I think.
Ten feet in 2 seconds ( I think the Towhee was actually slightly faster) works out to 20 miles per hour. Towhee's,who knew.
While taking measurements I stubbed my toe on a rock and it hurt, although I can't prove that. All I know is that was the fastest running Towhee I've ever seen!
Jeff GibsonNSI, inPort Townsend Wa

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