Schizophrenic treehuggerWith not much on my current photographic shortlist and some time to spare, it seemed like a good idea to spend a few hours in my permanent forest hide to check the situation. I was happy to see that the feeding frenzy had finally started.

As usual, the great tits formed the majority of the munching guests. They are always the first to find a new feeding station and somehow their numbers hugely increase over time. Last week there were two, this week there were already 7. Let’s see where this ends. Anyway, besides the tits, a couple of nuthatches were happy to take some nuts and seeds.

I was intrigued by their almost schizophrenic behavior. Nuthatches will never visit the feeding station first, but timidly assess the situation from a distance. They will wait for other birds (mainly tits) to show them that dining is safe. Then, the knob inside their heads is turned and they become very aggressive towards the other birds. They literally kick them from their perches and from the food. But when they have finally chased away every other bird, they start to feel insecure again, fly away and the whole story repeats itself.

To me, this image shows the timid nature of the nuthatches. Small, silent, inconspicious and from a safe distance.

European Nuthatch; Canon 1D Mark III w. 500/4 IS; 1/200s at F4 and ISO 500; Tripod from permanent hide.