Monday, March 10, 2008

Intimidating Display

We feed the birds in our back yard. Most often around this time of year, we see a foraging flock of dark-eyed juncos, black-capped chickadees, and tufted titmouses (or is it titmice?), with a few common sparrows about. They are occasionally joined by mourning doves and cardinals and jays and woodpeckers, and sometimes chased away by squirrels.

Yesterday, we were watching our flock of juncos and chickadees and saw a bird we had never seen before. It was colored similar to a chickadee, in that it had a big black stripe on its head and a white underside, and similar to a titmouse, with a blue/gray-ish back and wings and an orangy-color under the wings, and about the size of a junco. This litty guy hung upside down on the suet cake and pecked away at it. I consulted the bird books and discovered that he was a white-breasted nuthatch.

Our little nuthatch was very possessive of the suet cake. He would hang, either from the cage or the small branch next to it, spread out his wings and move in a slow, circular motion. This was usually when a titmouse got too close to the suet. One little chickadee was not intimidated and simply ate from the other side of the suet cake.

When I went out to get some new sticks for my dragons, the nuthatch was the only guy brave enough to come near me, when there was therefore no other competition for the yummy suet. He did not seem the slightest bit worried that I was there.

It was quite fun to watch this little bird swing upside down while the titmouse looks on with what could only be described as a perplexed expression on his little bird face. Whether he was intimidated by the nuthatch or not remains to be seen, but he did stay away from the suet when the nuthatch was displaying his wings. It must have worked for something.


Anonymous said...

Heehee! I love to watch the birds on the feeders outside our bedroom window, too.

We have 2 possums that hang out at the bottom of the feeders, digging around. What do you think they are eating? Laurel

Fyrecreek said...

I hope they're eating the worms and bugs and things that might be down there among all the bird droppings!

I haven't figured out where I'll put the feeders around my house. They'll have to be somewhere....