Nuthatches are believed to migrate only when there is a shortage of food in their home territories. This shortage drives them further south in the fall in search of food and is known as irruptive migration. It happens periodically and this is obviously one of those years.
I live in east Tennessee, and while we have white-breasted nuthatches as year-round residents, we only see their red-breasted cousins during an irruption year. About two weeks ago (October 14th), my yard experienced an influx of nuthatches, both white-breasted and red-breasted calling incessantly. It was spectacular--wrap-around nuthatch sounds everywhere. And there was no doubt that more than one species was present.
At only 4.5", over an inch smaller than their white-breasted cousins, red-breasted nuthatches seem tiny by comparison. But, wow, what bold little personalities. I was stunned to see how unconcerned they seemed while landing on the feeder when I happened to be only a couple of feet away. They aren't blind. And I'm not invisible. I didn't move, but I did laugh and talk to them and it didn't matter one iota. They stayed and went about picking out the perfect seed, despite my presence, then took off to either "hatch" their nut or bury it in the bark.
I noticed that red-breasted boldness with birds, as well. Measuring .25 inches smaller than a Carolina chickadee, they fanned their wings and tails to exaggerate their size and vocalized to lay claim to the feeder. Even the highly vocal and irreverent titmice heeded their warnings.
Endearing, lively, bold, and acrobatic, these little guys are a joyful addition to my feeders and I'm hoping they hang around all winter!
Louise Zepp, editor of the Tennessee Conservationist, has selected "Tennessee's Majestic Sandhill Cranes" as the website's feature article for the November/December issue to help promote the Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival, scheduled for January 19th and 20th, 2013.
The most exciting part about being selected as the feature article is that the entire article is available for reading on line. So visit the link provided below and enjoy! The article features the Eastern Population of Greater Sandhill Cranes and their spectacular migration staging each fall when they stop to rest and feed at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge. That collection of thousands of sandhill cranes creates a majestic spectacle that we all enjoy seeing and celebrating each year at our Tennessee Sandhill Crane Festival.
The beautiful four-page layout includes six full color images, including my watercolor, "Sandhills Landing", depicting one of my favorite sandhill crane postures as they float down for a landing.
If you do not already subscribe to this beautiful magazine, you should, so also visit the subscription section while you are visiting the article at the website.
A special thank you, again, to Louise Zepp, TN Conservationist editor, for promoting our majestic sandhill cranes and the sandhill crane festival!
Ocean Trail at Palos Verdes Nature Preserve, California--2015
Bird-banding at Seven Islands State Birding Park--2014
Photo courtesy of Jody Stone
Bird-banding at Seven Islands
Photo courtesy of Karen Wilkenson
Enjoying Gray Jays in Churchill!--2014
Photo courtesy of Blue Sky Expeditions
Smithsonian National Zoo with one of my Whooping Crane banners and son, John--2014
The Incredible Muir Woods near Stinson Beach, CA--2014
Photo courtesy of Wendy Pitts Reeves
Me and Denali--2012
Photo courtesy of Bob King
For the Love of It...
...the sage sees heaven reflected in Nature as in a mirror, and he pursues this Art, not for the sake of gold or silver, but for the love of the knowledge which it reveals. Sendivogius (1750)
Your Uncapped Creativity...
"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action; and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. You must keep that channel open. It is not for you to determine how good it is, nor how valuable. Nor how it compares with other expressions. It is for you to keep it yours, clearly and directly." ----the great dancer, Martha Graham