Nuthatch Nuttiness

February 9th, 2007

     Well there I was, minding my own business when I heard a loud Whump!!!   From past experience I knew some avian friend hit one of the glass windows in the patio room.  Usually just a light “bump” when the birds hit, and then fly off.  But sometimes they will blindly zoom around the house and smash into the windows.  That’s usually in the Spring when other thoughts give careless abandon to their flight.  

But today I looked out to see what kind it was, and there was the Shiba Inu, Kuma, nosing at a small bird that had fallen in the shrubs.   I knocked on the window to distract him from gobbling up the little thing, but he wasn’t interested.  Hmmm… it’s moving a little…  So in stocking feet I go out to see what I can find.  Oh! It’s a White-Breasted Nuthatch!  I always enjoy watching them as they go headfirst down trees in search of insects.  “Okay” I thought, “He’s still alive… I should do something…” 

So I brought it into the patio room to warm up.  Fortunately I had the pellet stove roaring away warming up the place to a toasty 72 degrees.  What to do?  In the absence of knowledge, I said a prayer for him (it seemed like a ‘him’ so for simplicity’s sake we will use the male gender for this discussion!), wished him well and set him in inside a large planter of Rosemary…  

White-Breasted Nuthatch in Planter “I’ll check on you in a little while” I thought.  Well a couple hours later after picking up the Young One from the school bus, I came in and remembered the little bird.  Knowing that they usually don’t make it, I was roundly surprised to find him sitting there looking perfectly fine, yet bewildered, as if he was in the Land of Oz. 

Okay little guy… now if you’ll cooperate maybe we can get you home!  I went to pick him up, and after a little squirming he was in my hand looking around.  I showed him to the youngster (who was more interested in the PBS cartoon on the TV) and then took it outside.  Wow… 72 degrees to 29 degrees… Okay, here you go… I held my hand up.  He just sat there perched on my finger (wish I had a photo!).  He wouldn’t fly or anything- probably a little unsure.  So after a while, I carried him over to the bird feeder, and set him inside near an open hole in the plexiglass, on top of the feed where the Nuthatches like to go.   I walked back inside to watch… he just sat there.  Then came the other birds again, and another Nuthatch. 

White-Breasted Nuthatch on Feeder

“Oh, isn’t that nice…” I thought as I watched the other Nuthatch land, see the one inside and fly back to the house to wait his turn.  Then of course he proceeded back to the feeder, inside the hole and began pecking the heck out of the bewildered one!  “You turkey!” I thought as I ran outside and he flew away.  

Hmmm… so I picked up the little bird inside the feeder again… he looked at me, and then flew off!  Just like that… I think the neighboring bully prompted him to get a little distance.

Nuthatch in tree


Here he’s in a tree about 50 yards away.  A survivor!

He was a fortunate little bird…  Who knows, at least he has a chance!  It’s amazing that they can make it through winter with such cold and ice everywhere.

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