The Pygmy Nuthatch

by Bryce W. Robinson

Pygmy Nuthatch

I’ve been very fortunate to bird as often as possible while I’m busy in grad school. The semester is nearing a close, which means the work load has increased, exponentially, it seems. Luckily, I’ve managed my time such that I have been able to bird one day every week.

I’ve found myself part of a great birding crew. It’s been a blast, as we seem to find something notable every time we go out. Yesterdays star bird was a Little Gull, an incredible bird for central Idaho. It was very distant across Cascade Reservoir, so no photos. I did, however, manage to fulfill a photography goal I’ve been after for a while

Until yesterday, it seemed that I’d only seen the Pygmy Nuthatch- Sitta pygmaea, at the very top of tall conifers, out of reach even for my 300mm with a 1.4 tc attached. Any shot appeared a small dot on a tree, which of course does not honor the small nuthatch in the way it deserves. I consider the Pygmy Nuthatch to be one of the cutest birds of the forest. They are small and vocal, full of personality. With my photography, I’d like to capture that personality.

While checking the outflow of Cascade Reservoir yesterday, we found a small group of very vocal “Piggies”. They were low in the trees, feeding and flitting about. Fortunately, they’d pause and take note of me, allowing for some quick snaps of my shutter. Finally, I’d caught the personality of the little piggies.

IMG_0852 copyI think my interpretations of the birds behaviors are a little anthropocentric, but still, they seemed shy but inquisitive. Because of their size, appearance, and personality, I find them one of the funnest birds to interact with in the high pine forest.