One for Wednesday 8-7-13

bushtits 007a

Let me tell you a little about Bushtits. These little ping-pong ball sized birds breeze through the garden many times a day. They glean insects from the plants, sample the suet, grab grub at the seed feeder but they rarely stay in one place for more than a few seconds. They often arrive in large flocks  (10-30+ individuals) overwhelming the feeder and it’s nearly impossible to get an accurate count on them as they are constantly moving.  But, on summer afternoons, a couple of hours before dusk, this little group is known to settle for 20-30 minutes in the shelter of the Pacific nine bark (Physocarpus capitatus).

My affinity for nine bark is fodder for another post but let me just say its status as a Bushtit roost elevates it even higher on my list of favorite native plants. So, they settle, all bunched together on this nine bark branch.  Always on this branch. Their huddle is motionless for several minutes then one will stretch, scratch, even hop the 2 feet to the suet feeder, snack, then return to the ranks of the napping.

Other species of birds arrive, hop all around, generally disturb the peace but they don’t disturb the Bushtits. I can even get close enough to take this photo sans telephoto lens with nary a stir of feathers. It’s not clear what triggers their emergence from slumber but all at once they begin squirming and moving about and quickly the branch is bare again and these wee birds are back to bouncing through the foliage and on their merry way.

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