15 Feb 2006
Ned Hill sent in this picture of an unusual Spotted Towhee with the following quizzical comment:
"Here is a photo of the “Red-headed” Spotted Towhee that’s been coming into our feeders. Have you ever seen anything like this? Must be a new species formerly unknown to man (I wish). Or perhaps just a genetic aberration. Or perhaps this fellow just sleeps under a rusty Fawcett!"
claimed it as a new species: “Shannon’s Towhee.” Actually, my son Jonathan
photographed the bird (using my camera) so he should get the credit. His
wife, Shannon, has been watching it out on our patio for several weeks
now. Although not officially a “birder”, she is quite observant. We just
could not imagine what bird she was talking about—a red head but black
back with white spots, red sides. She insisted it was like other Towhees
she had seen. We were puzzled. That’s when Jonathan staked it out and
finally got a picture. She was very right—an aberrant Spotted Towhee."