Spotted Towhee

Pipilo maculates

Unlike the bolder California Towhee, this brightly colored towhee hides under dense brush. It has a signature call that lets you know it’s there: two sharp notes followed by a trill. The bills of Spotted Towhees have been observed to get shorter in winter; the theory is that grit and hard seeds wear down the bill more than the softer insects eaten during warmer months.

Fun Fact:
The bill of this towhee is measurably shorter in winter than in summer.

What’s for Lunch:
Insects in summer; seeds in winter

Where’s Home:
Chaparral and coastal sage scrub, year-round