Flycatching Pygmy Nuthatches

Jim Chiropolos

Derek Heins and I did a birding our and back through SF today and the common migrants were present in low numbers at the multiple hotspots we stopped at. We met multiple members of the SF birding community birding their patches as we biked through.

The highlight of the day was a group of about 8 Pygmy Nuthatches Flycatching!! with a western tanager above East wash. The Pygmy Nuthatches were quite acrobatic and nimble in the air. We watched this group for about 10 minutes. I was quite surprised to see this “branch creeper” sallying out for insects in flights of up to 20 feet, quick changes of direction and then returning to the tree.

Some birds are certainly very adaptable to their feeding  methods and food (as I think about it - the food item must be very different from the insects they pick off from branches in addition to the method of feeding). I wonder if Pygmy Nuthatches are the most common bird in the city because they were abundant calling and active everywhere on our route from Fort Mason to the Cliff House and back. Very cool!

My east bay home yard migrant bird predictor today was correct - no migrants in my east bay yard today I thought would mean low numbers of migrating birds moving through SF and that was the case.... 

Jim Chiropolos

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