Nuthatch Threat Display

Mary spotted a White-breasted Nuthatch facing off against a red squirrel on the patio near the birdfeeder, wherein the nuthatch spread its wings to look as fearsome as possible. The squirrel seemed unfazed, perhaps because a bird the size of my thumb simply doesn’t pose much of a threat.

A few minutes later, the nuthatch repeated the display from the feeder, starting with a hostile side-eye:

Nuthatch threat side-eye
Nuthatch threat side-eye

Then he (we’re pretty sure) went into full-on threat mode:

Nuthatch threat display
Nuthatch threat display

Nuthatches are perfectly happy hanging upside-down from any convenient perch, so it’s not quite as ungainly as it may seem. However, the threat bounced off the squirrel, which continued stuffing itself from seeds scattered by none other than the nuthatch.

The nuthatch threat display seems identical to the nuthatch courtship display, so we may have been witnessing an offer for rishathra.

Ya never know!

Taken through two layers of 1955 window glass with the Pixel 3a zoomed all the way, then ruthlessly cropped.

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