GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE, photo credit: Stephen Mason
The rarity pictured above was originally seen by John and Peggy McDevit on New Years Day, while they were conducting the second day of their Project FeederWatch survey. The McDevits have graciously offered to open up their Collingswood yard to the many eager birders who have come to see the bird during the past two days- and after a lengthy wait during the midday hours, the bird did make a brief appearance around 2pm this afternoon. However, it does seem to make more regular appearances during the morning hours.
Referencing Birds of New Jersey, this is just the 7th known record of this western species in New Jersey, and the first since 1985. Typically, Green-tailed Towhees are found from Mexico down into South America by January- but perhaps just as remarkably, its breeding range is primarily west of the Rocky Mountains!
The bird is located at 1147 Mansion Avenue, in Collingswood, just outside of Camden and Philadelphia. A GoogleMap or Mapquest directions search will yield good directions. If you go, be sure to knock on the McDevits' door to announce yourself and be sure to thank them for their immense generosity in letting all of us crazy birders camp out in their backyard. The bird has been most reliably seen along the left side of the yard, foraging under a couple of small hollies.