11.22.20: Nuthatch hanging on

A White-breasted Nuthatch clings to bark in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.

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A White-breasted Nuthatch clings to bark in Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio.

Tech specs

  • Date/time: Dec 17, 2005 11:07 AM   
  • Camera: Canon EOS 20D
  • Lens: Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L +2x
  • Focal length: 600mm
  • Aperture: f/7.1
  • Shutter: 1/1000 second
  • ISO: 400

Basic nuthatch pose: Clinging to bark, looking

When you do a lot of bird photography like I do you learn the tendencies of different types of birds.

For instance, nuthatches spend their day climbing up and down the trunks of trees looking for insects hiding in the bark. When facing down, they will often “pose” —positioning their head and body at a 90-degree angle to the tree trunk — to get a good look at their surroundings.

That's the perfect time to get a photo of a nuthatch.

I have a number of photos of nuthatches posing, including this photo of a White-breasted Nuthatch striking a pose in the woods of a local park.

When I see a nuthatch moving down a tree trunk I quickly focus on the bird and track it, waiting for it to look around. The preparation and anticipation allow me to get photographs showing the typical behavior of nuthatches and other birds.

The nuthatch gets its name from its unusual feeding technique. The birds jam acorns and other large nuts into tree bark, then whack them with their sharp bill. That hatches the seed from inside the nut.

When I see a nuthatch moving down a tree trunk I quickly focus on the bird and track it, waiting for it to look around.