Content & Photos © Bill Schmoker unless noted otherwise. Thanks for visiting- drop me a comment!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Coming Apart

On our hike up Mt. Audubon (see yesterday's post), we ran into tons of Red-breasted Nuthatches on the way up and back down the trail near the tree line. It isn't unusual to hear or see this species in this habitat, but we had well over 100 of 'em, certainly a personal high count by far for me on such an outing. At one point, a tall dead snag looked like a birdy totem pole with nuthatch above nuthatch all the way to the top. Anyway, when we got some closer looks at the birds it appeared that most or all of them were in heavy body molt, giving them a splotchy, mottled appearance due to muchos missing feathers. Ted Floyd summed it up in an email exchange:
They have that if-you-breathe-too-hard-they'll-blow-apart look about them. Not sure if they're dandelion seedheads or birds!
Anyway, it seem like something funny might be going on with Red-breasted Nuthatches this summer across a wide swath of the country, with early out-of-season reports from places like New York's Central Park. Maybe someone at North American Birds will connect the dots on this phenomenon, or maybe it is just "one of those things..."

1 comment:

Mary C said...

Hi Bill - great job capturing these cuties in pictures. That first one looks like or reminds me of the picture of the "mad bluebird." Should we name this one the "mad nuthatch?" ;-) I certainly like Ted's description.