Monday, February 1, 2010

Rufous-sided Towhee

Yesterday was such a gift: bright sunny day, low to mid 50's, and perfect for working in the garden. I was heading to the potting shed, when I was buzzed by a gorgeous hummingbird with a deep scarlet throat; he must have liked the old red jacket I had put on from the garage. Hurriedly I went back inside to grab the camera. Of course it was nowhere to be seen upon my return, but I was pleased to find this red-eyed and gleaming jet-black Rufous-sided or Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) and friend.

I have exhausted my search: Audubon Field Guide and the internet. Anyone have an idea as to the identity of the Towhee's friend with its shades of brown and unusual light yellow on the forehead. Are certain kinds of sparrows this large and beautiful? I can't imagine.

Update: Thank you all for your help! Tina from In the Garden suggested that our mystery guest was a Golden-crowned Sparrow. As I continued in my attempt to verify, here is a photo I discovered by Dana Johnson; look at the comparison. Then, Corey at 10000 Birds site stated that it was a juvenile Golden-crowned Sparrow. What a grand community this is. Thank you.