Sunday, March 14, 2010

Nuthatch Patch

A Brown-headed Nuthatch at Morningside Nature Center

Gainesville is an odd place to bird. We're too far north to get all the famous Florida specialties such as Snail Kites and Anis, and on the southern end of the range for many typical birds of the continental U.S. Typical bird-feeder visitors such Tufted Titmice are rare to nonexistent only a few hours south of us, and everyday backyard birds common just north of here get Gainesville birders strangely excited. One of these is the Brown-headed Nuthatch.

Bird guides list these as common and easy to find, but here in Gainesville, they only occur in one place: Morningside Nature Center, a sprawling park filled with longleaf pines and scrubby palmettos. And even at Morningside, seeing one is not always a sure bet. But the past few weekends, we got lucky: we saw not one, but two, and noticed they were a pair, and were nesting!

While hiking the back trails at Morningside, I saw two more Brown-headed Nuthatches, who took turns pecking violently inside a deep hole on the side of a dead tree, squeaking loudly the whole time. The birds seemed to be traveling together, and it wasn't clear to me if they were feeding at that tree or trying to excavate a nest hole. I actually have no clue if Brown-headed Nuthatches are capable of excavating nest cavities by themselves, but it seemed like an interesting idea to contemplate.

The local Nuthatch Patch is a good place to be right now. Can't wait for the Nuthatch Patch hatch is a few weeks!


Susan said...

A brown headed nuthatch would be a very special life bird for me! Lucky you!

Felicia said...

They are indeed cute and fun to watch—but then, I think all birds are fun to watch! Thanks for coming by again!

Anonymous said...

Hi Felicia,

Found you from FC's blog. This was on the web this morning. Article abbout whooping cranes. Thought about you.

Plucky whooping crane gives wildlife experts hope

I haven't seen one since I lived in Gnvl.


Felicia said...

Hi Patti,

Thanks for the link; I'm glad to hear from you. Whooping Crane sightings are one of the great things about living here--I'm happy that you got to see them when you were here.

dAwN said...

Ahh they are cute..and I love the little squeaky toy sound they make.

Felicia said...

Hi Dawn,

They are great little squeakers and fun to watch!