Tuesday, June 21, 2005

It happened between Friday and Sunday!

White-breasted Nuthatch in C.P.
Photo by D. Bruce Yolton

A story in four short letters

6/20/05 mtsegall wrote [in e-birds]:
The White-breasted Nuthatches have been absent from CP reports, so I thought I would mention them.

On Starr Saphir's morning walk in the Ramble May 18, we came upon a pair of White-breasted Nuthatches engaged in what appeared to be a courtship ritual. The male was slowly spreading his wings and tail, a beautiful display that none of us had ever seen before.

On Friday, June 17, I managed to re-find the dead tree where we had seen this, and sure enough, the pair did nest there in a large hole and are now feeding young ones. I kept a respectful distance, but even so did see one nestling's face.

I am not good at giving Ramble directions, but this tree is on a path that goes slightly northwest from the rustic shelter, on the left side if you are walking that way. The tree is right by the path in the open, just a trunk that forks once, and the hole is about eye level.

Ardith Bondi responded:
Did anyone see these nestlings fledge? They were gone from the nesthole on Sunday afternoon, [6/19] but the adults were still seen around Azalea Pond.

Sally Weiner wrote back:
Yesterday morning, [ 6/19]around 9 or 9:30, Susan Schulz and I saw 3 or 4 white-breasted nuthatches on the path between the Castle and the Humming Tombstone (closer the latter). A young bird, presumably from the tree-stump nest, ate peanuts from Susan's hand.

Ardith answered:
Thanks, Sally. I'm glad to hear they're around. They probably developed a taste for peanuts since their parents were regularly taking them handouts in the nest. I wonder whether they fledged yesterday morning or on Saturday?

Marie answers in the headline.