I tend to think of the towhees as nuisance birds, only because they're bigger than the sparrows, and plainer-looking. That's not right, is it? They're not bad birds just because they take up more space on the feeder. I'm going to have to stop chasing them off to make room for the sparrows and finches.
As I was watering the garden late this afternoon, I was serenaded by a towhee. It wasn't a song of welcome, though. It sat on top of the garage roof and complained loudly. "Chip! Chip! Chip!" Apparently I was doing something wrong, and I was being chastised for it. (Or else it had me confused with one of the contestants on The Amazing Race.) At least this bird stood up to me, instead of skittering off into the wind. I have to admire that.
It's not my way to judge animals (or people, for that matter) on the basis of appearance. Maybe I still harbor some resentment for the way I was treated in school, as the smallest kid in the class for most of elementary and junior high. On the other hand, there were times when I was treated like a pet or a mascot. Looking back, that seems pretty condescending. I thought it was pretty cool at the time, though.
I'm going to make an effort to like the towhees more. They really don't do anything wrong, other than leaving larger gifts behind for me to clean up off the porch. They're not colorful, but neither am I. There are certainly less entertaining examples of nature's diversity making their homes in my yard. The rats and lizards don't even sing.
And then there are the snakes, who seem to be getting either bolder or more numerous. I keep my distance, because I know nothing about snakes. What I think might be a friendly old king snake could turn out to be an evil pit viper. Or worse, if such a thing exists. So far I haven't felt threatened. I don't hate snakes, but I prefer to give them their space.