[CT Birds] A different nuthatch

charles barnard jr chbarnjr at gmail.com
Wed Apr 9 21:21:21 EDT 2014

On Tuesday morning in Stratford, a nuthatch which appeared to be at least
in part a Brown-headed Nuthatch, was observed in Stratford. I saw this bird
just past 6:30 AM and it stayed around for at least 15 to 20 minutes. I can
only say that it might or might not have been a "clean species." The light
was poor and the bird stayed high. Additionally, the bird had obviously
been flying through heavy rain earlier, since it looked soaking wet and was
quite disheveled looking. What was clear was the fact that it was very
noticeably smaller than White-breasted Nuthatch and upon examining the few
photos which I was able to get, the brown crown was visible. I had to
lighten the photos and boost the color saturation to see that though. The
bird behaved differently than White-breasted Nuthatch as well.
The face/head didn't look quite right for a pure Brown-headed Nuthatch, so
I am not at all sure that it was a pure species. All I feel sure of is that
the bird did have at least some BHNH genes in it. I could not make this
public at the time because I live in a condo community where there is
virtually no parking for non-residents and some of  my neighbors would have
flipped out if a large group of birders suddenly appeared. No doubt that
they would have called management. Besides, the bird was gone soon and I
have not seen it since. I have described the bird to some people who have
seen the species quite frequently ( I have only seen it a couple of times
in the Carolinas) and they noted that the behavior, including the way the
bird perched quite upright for periods of time, fit well with Brown-headed
Nuthatch. If I learn anything more from anyone, I will provide an update.

Charlie Barnard Jr

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