However, last week while I was finishing my newest piece (a tufted titmouse) I was watching a squirrel perform its gymnastics, eating seeds while hanging upside down on a small wire feeder. I have a few feeders on another pole that is squirrel-proof, so I don't mind sharing this one with my little mammal friends. Some days watching the squirrels is more entertaining than the birds.
But on this day, while I watched this squirrel, I noticed, on the tree behind the feeder, something odd transpiring, at least odd to me. A nuthatch had flown up and landed opposite a young downy woodpecker. The nuthatch immediately flared its tail and spread its wings and turned slowly to the right and then back left. Clearly it was trying to intimidate the other bird!
I did not actually have my camera with me the first time I saw this display--I had to run back to the house, up the stairs, find my camera, make sure there was a card in it (common mistake!) and run back out. Then I had to sit and wait for all the players to return. Thankfully they did, and I was able to catch several sequences on film--err, um, I mean on card.
I had never seen this before. Usually life at the feeders is pretty laid back, especially between the different species--there seems to be more strife between birds of a feather, like the goldfinches squabbling over the thistle feeder. This was quite a treat, and just goes to show that a little daydreaming when you're supposed to be working can be a really good thing. You can bet on seeing a new piece from this little drama!