Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Brown-headed Nuthatch Is Special.

For me there are no good birds and bad birds-there are only good birds. But, the Brown-headed Nuthatch is a special bird in the temperate mid-Atlantic region. Why? Because this nuthatch is, with some frequency, a "cooperative" breeder. That is, more than two birds of the same species provide care in rearing the young from one nest! Not the usual arrangement. Google that term and you will find that it is a fertile area in avian reserach, usually in tropical regions. Check out the Florida Scrub Jay and read of the work that has been done and is on-going at the Archibald Biological Station in Florida. You will even read of a campaign to make the Florida Scrub Jay the state bird of Florida!!

These Brown-headeds which call First Landing home are near the northern limit of their range. How frequently they breed cooperatively here as opposed to Tallahasse, Florida, where Jim Cox of has found that as many as 40% of the Brown-headeds nests are cooperative, is an open question. Notwithstanding, last Sunday, March 24th, a second-year Brown-headed Nuthatch found one of our nets. Come visit First Landing soon to hear the Brown-headeds tooting their squeeky toy songs as they, too, begin another breeding season. Photo below.

1 comment:

Ed said...

Question Is it possible for an Osprey couple to live over 20 years? We have had a couple on our nest on the Rappahannock River since 1989... Each year a male shows up and several days later a female shows up, they mate and have young. This year she was really late coming back but is here and they have mated. I wonder if it is the same couple.