Sunday, November 3, 2013

White-breasted Nuthatch Study

Our new living room has a fantastic large window, and one of the first things that Jacob did since moving in to our new place was create a large bird feeder tripod.  We added three feeders and a suet cake, and have enjoyed watching a variety of birds from the comfort of our couch. Throughout the day Black-capped Chickadees, Tuffed Titmice, Blue Jays, Dark-eyed Junco, Downy Woodpeckers, and White Breasted Nuthatches are flying in and out of the yard.  We have also seen with less frequency White-throated Sparrows, Hairy Woodpeckers, Carolina Wrens, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, a Red-winged Blackbird, and a female Cardinal. 

Tuesday however brought an unfortunate event; a white-breasted nuthatch flew into the window and died. (Since, then I've taped bird silhouettes on the outside of window to help the birds see the glass.)  I was saddened to see this gymnast of the trees dead, but I decided to take advantage of the accident, and I did a nuthatch study. With the bird in hand, I was able to see it's overall body shape, really see how the feathers overlap, to see its upturned bill, and look closely a the feet.  I spent close to two hours sketching different angles, photographing, and then doing small watercolor of the beautiful bird.  I am glad I was able to get to know this bird better, and I predict a larger painting coming in the future.  Here are two links to blogs devoted to nature sketching and nature art and

 A little more about why I think White-breasted Nut hatches are Olympic gymnasts.  White-breasted Nuthatches are insect eaters, who climb all over trees poking under bark, among leaves, and in cavities looking for their prey.  They have the ability to climb strait up, upside down, and all around the tree's trunk and branches. They are very active and do all their stunts with speed and a hopping, hitching gait.  They are also pretty noisy beeping with every hitch up the tree.  Birds of North America describes their call as "a low 'yank, yank'."  You can check these websites to learn more and hear a recording of a White-breasted Nuthatch. ( cornell bird lab and enature)