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.