updated 2.4.11 English Presentation of Rock Nuthatch

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Rock Nuthatch, photos taken in Israel 2008 - 2009 - 2010 English presentation, updated 2.4.11

Text of updated 2.4.11 English Presentation of Rock Nuthatch

  • 1. A bit aboutWestern Rock Nuthatch Sitta neumayer syriaca Photos taken through the years 2008 2009 - 2010 Special thanks to: * Ben Inbar the former Hermon NPA Warden * Aviad Belski the present Hermon NPA Warden* The Hermon troops, its soldiers and commanders This presentation is dedicated to all of them Special thanks to Prof. Dr. Erik Matthysen, Evolutionary Ecology Group, Department of Biology, University of Antwerp The Author ofThe Nuthatches, A&C Black, July 2002Photos taken by Amir Ben Dov [email_address]

2. Some facts of life

  • The Sitta that appears in Israel is from the sub Species Syriaca
  • This sup Species breeds also in Syria and Lebanon
  • The Sitta nest is made from mud, and is using natural holes in the
  • cliffs in order to enlarge the inner nest space
  • The pair will use the same nest for some many years to come

3. 4. 5. The external side of the nest is flavored with a lot of dark and red / orange spots. These spots are covered with hundreds of flys most are of one dominant Species. It looks as the more spots the nest holds, the older the nest is. 6. 7. 8. Since 2007 I noticed a very interesting phenomena. The Sitta is squashing specific beetles and larvas on the external nest casing, and sticking red beetles wings on the outside of the nest.this behavior is seen in all nests. Prof. Dr. Erik Matthysen, Evolutionary Ecology Group Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, the Author ofthe Nuthaches, A&C Black, 2002 , brought to my attention that such behavior is known from the literature and is common also to white-breasted and white-cheeked nuthatch, both also nest in (tree) cavity.On the 7 thof October 2008, Prof. Danni Simon from Tel Aviv University identified the Beetle as: Clytra nigrocincta (Chrysomelidae family) Some species of the family are known to haveSalicylic Asid (SA) , a strong organic asid that is also active against fungus, microbes and more 9. 10. 11. According to the literature, the Sitta start nesting in the second part of March, and finish its first nesting round in mid June. Second round starts in mid July till late august. In the nests I observed 1 in 2005 2 in 2006 2008 5 in 2009 The hatch of the nestlings was amazingly synchronized around the 14.5, and the leaving of the nest around 31.5 +/- a day or two. In 2010 I saw again one family (Ads + 5 nestlings) that left the nest on 28.5 probably early morningAll together from the hatch to leaving the nest it is 18 days 1 pair I watched in 2008 started their second round on 22.7, but I did not follow this nest (luck of time) 12. If watching carefully, you can observe in the nest 2 nestlings about 4 days old 13. 14. 15. 16.

  • On the 16.4.10during a mourning mission of finding Nuthatch nests, I tackled an extremely rare phenomena, a Nuthatch nest, built half way, open in its upper side.
  • As the Nuthatches during April should already be in advanced nesting, I concluded that the nest was broken and inactive, and therefore decided to use this rare opportunity to learn about the inside of the nest.
  • I climbed on the small (but dangerous) cliff to look and photo the inside of the nest.
  • To my great surprise I found in the open nest 7 white scarcely marked eggs.
  • The Nuthatches were not seen anywhere around
  • After some hesitations I touched one egg and found it to be very cold
  • From looking at the nest edges it is obvious that the nest is not damaged and therefore it is possible that the couple did not succeed in timing the building of the nest with the eggs laying.
  • It is so rare to find an open nuthatch nest, even more so, Nuthatch eggs inside.
  • The inside of the nest is padded with fox fair (it is not the first time I watch Nuthatches using foxes fair)
  • The outside of theunfinishednest is full with squashed beetles and flys all around

17. The Nuthatch nest built half way on the cliff in Maale Golani upper Hermon mountain 18. 19. The inside of the nest well padded with fox hair, and in it 7 Eggs 20.

  • On the 28.5.2010 I returned to visit this nest
  • First, I learned with out doubt that the nest is not active.
  • Nevertheless it was clearly seen that the Nuthatch continued though did not finish to build the nest.
  • The eggs found month and a half ago were not found and probably eaten or devoured.
  • I did notice that the nest was conquered by little black Ants, this is the very first time I noticed Ants in a Nuthatch nest
  • It is worth while checking whether the Bittle Juice the Nuthatch is using is to prevent ants to pray the nestlings

21. 22. 23.

  • The Maale Golani
  • Nuthatch nest as
  • photographed on
  • 16.4.10
  • The Maale Golani
  • Nuthatch nest as
  • photographed on
  • 28.5.10

24. The Nuthatch nest as photographed on 12.6.10, note that the building has continued, further note that the entrance tube is not yet built,It is amazing to learn that this single nest is being built for probably 120 days already (and not yet finished) 25. The fledglings are easy to recognize as they are reddish pink in most of their underpants. There is difference in the amount of reddish color even between fledglings from the same nest 26. The fledglings will stay with their parents around the nest for a day and then leave the area for another feeding ground. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. caring parents 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. During the all of the nesting period the male (?) Sitta will adopt 2 - 4 observation points on which it will stand for long hours. It is easy to recognize these points from the many droppings on it. One of the observation points was always seen 2 - 7 meters opposite the nest entrance. 40. 41. The Western Rock Nuthatch is certainly an amazing and most interesting bird to learn more about 42. For further literature

  • The Nuthatches, By Erik Matthysen, David Quinn, July 2002
  • Click here for best link to purchase the book
  • The World's Best Photos of nuthatch -FlickrHive Mind
  • ADAMYAN, M. S. (1965). [The ecology of a small rocknuthatch ( Sittaneumayer ) in Armenia].Ornitologiya , 7: 157165
  • AIROLA, D. A. & BARRETT, R. H. (1985). Foraging and habitat relationships of insectgleaning birds in a Sierra Nevada mixedconifer forest.Condor , 87: 205216.
  • ALLEN, A. A. (1929). Nuthatch.BirdLore , 31: 423432.
  • ANDERSON, S. H. (1976). Comparative food habits of Oregon nuthatches.Northwest Science , 50: 213221
  • BAHR, P. H. (1907). The Nuthatch as a nestbuilder.British Birds , 1: 122.
  • BANCROFT, J. (1987). Observations of Whitebreasted Nuthatch.Blue Jay , 45: 172174.
  • BRACKBILL, H. (1969b). Status and behaviour of colorbanded Whitebreasted Nuthatches at Baltimore.Maryland Birdlife , 25: 8791.
  • DURANGO, A. M. & DURANGO, S. (1942). [Breeding of the Nuthatch ( Sitta e. europaeaL.)].Vr Fagelvrld , 1: 3344.
  • DUYCK, B. E., McNAIR, D. B. & NICHOLSON , C. P. (1991). Dirtstoring behaviour by WhiteBreasted Nuthatches.Wilson Bulletin , 103: 308309
  • For more literatureplease approach[email_address]