Posted by Gary Botello on April 3, 2014 at 8:56 pm
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I had read that Pygmy Nuthatches survive the bitter winter nights by roosting with 50 to 100 or more other Pygmy Nuthatches in tree cavities. With so many birds in the cavity, they stay warm and can lower their metabolic rate to conserve energy. This, however, is the first (and, so far, the last) time that I ever witnessed the behavior, and this was outside of a cavity.
We were having a snowstorm in Flagstaff, AZ on 2/19/11 and it was very cold outside. A group of Pygmy Nuthatches were feeding in my yard when I began to notice them gathering together in a slight indentation in one of the pine trees. As more arrived I saw that they were huddling together to keep warm. I grabbed my camera to document the event.
I took this photo with a Canon EOS 50D Camera and a Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 lens USM.