- Last Updated: February 21, 2023
The Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) can be found year-round in Western Washington although it can sometimes be hard to spot because it blends in so well with its favorite habitats. Brushy thickets, forest edges, and overgrown gardens and fields with dense leaf litter are home to this handsome member of the sparrow family.
When breeding season begins, males spend most of the morning singing from exposed perches to attract a mate. When a pair bond has formed, the female builds the nest on the ground using stems, dry leaves, twigs, fine hairs, grasses, and similar materials. She lays 2-6 eggs which are incubated for 12-13 days. Nestlings fledge after 10-12 days, and a successful pair can raise 1-3 broods in a season.
Spotted Towhees employ the “double-scratching” (two-footed backwards) method to uncover a wide variety of seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, insects and arthropods while foraging on the ground. They are easily attracted to bird feeders, both ground and low-hanging, and will also eat suet and peanut butter, especially during harsh weather. Photo credit: Spotted Towhee by Mary Sinker