Mating season means it’s time to stake out your territory.
This morning I was standing under the large Japanese Maple in our front yard waiting to take a photo of the Eastern Bluebirds who are moving into a bird house close by. I was standing right next to the trunk hoping to be indistinguishable from the tree.
Two Brown-headed Nuthatches landed in the tree and began being very vocal and hopping around a lot. They were less than six feet away from me at times and completely oblivious to my presence. All of a sudden there was much commotion and I lost them both.
Then there was a racket and much squabbling, and when I looked down the two were on the ground very close to me grappling with each other. You could speculate that they were mating, but most likely it was a fight over territory. It’s hard to tell male from female Brown-headed Nuthatches based on appearance, so this provided no clues. Take a look at these photos and see what you think.
Looking back on it, I think all of the movement in the tree was posturing. The fact that they were unaffected by my presence suggests that they had much more important issues to deal with.
How about a little respect for privacy