10.16.16: Nuthatch pose

A White-breasted Nuthatch strikes a typical nuthatch pose on a tree, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio. 

PHOTO OF THE WEEK ARCHIVES

Technical information

Date/time:
Jan. 9, 2014,
10:30 a.m.

Location
40°7'6” N,
82°57'33" W
(Show in Google Maps)

Camera: 
Canon EOS 7D

Lens: 
Canon EF 600mm f/4L, Canon 1.4x teleconverter (840mm) 

Aperture: 
f/5.6

Shutter: 
1/2000th second

ISO: 
1600

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 post 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.

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.