Sunday, March 13, 2011

Waiting for the all-clear

I was watching the birds at the feeders this afternoon, and they were going about their own business of eating and chatting when all of the sudden everyone got the heck out of Dodge. Soon thereafter a hawk swooped through (Cooper's or Sharp-shinned, not sure which - it flew through much too quickly and didn't perch long enough for me to get binoculars on it). Unfortunately, one little bird got left behind when the others took off.

White-breasted Nuthatch, hoping he hasn't been made

The hawk was far gone when I looked over and noticed this fellow dangling upside down on a branch. I guess he thought he had better odds of not becoming a hawk snack by freezing in place in this odd position rather than fleeing.

He stayed like this for maybe 30 seconds, craning his head to get a better view of the situation. I'm certainly used to seeing Nuthatches creeping head-first down trees, but seeing him suspended in this position from a branch for an extended period of time was quite odd.

I don't know if the hawk caught a meal during it's fly-by or not, but I can say that this Nuthatch lived to see another day. It's always good to report a happy ending.

6 comments:

A.L. Gibson said...

The circle of life continues to spin but I'm glad to see this little guy escape the danger...at least for now! Hilarious to see him hang there and look around, an excellent shot no doubt!

Kelly said...

Ahhhhh...that little nuthatch is so darn cute hanging there like a little statue!

Caroline said...

Downy woodpeckers are the masters of the freeze when the sharp-shin makes a strafing run through the yard. He or she will hang on the peanut feeder for many minutes never moving an eyelash till it is all clear.
I do like the nuthatch imitates dead leaf strategy, too.

Kah-Wai Lin said...

Nice capture!

Kah Wai
http://kwbirding.blogspot.com/

RuthieJ said...

that's so cool that you were able to witness that Heather. I don't have many nuthatches in my backyard and would be sad to lose any to a hawk (even though the hawks have to live too)

Mike Whittemore said...

Great shots!