Date: 9/10/17 9:00 pm
From: Steve Mulhall <mulhallse...> [ILbirds] <ILbirds-noreply...>
Subject: IBET Bird behavior, Lyons Woods, Lake County, Sunday 09/10/17
We are all familiar with birds imitating other birds songs and calls.  Northern Mockingbirds make a career of it.  Starlings, Thrashers, Catbirds, and many others are very proficient at it.  My favorite example from this year happened in Daniel Wright Woods in the Spring.  A short distance off in the woods a Black-throated Green Warbler sang its zoo zee zee zoo zee song and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher in the tree above me sang it right back to him in its high buzzy voice.
Today, in the pines just north of the parking lot at Lyons Woods, there were many Red-breasted Nuthatches.  I saw five at once and there were others there.  At one point, two of the Nuthatches hopped on top of the tallest spikes on the crown of one of the pines and started displaying.  The display involved a lot of chatter and the birds fluttered their wings and rotated back and forth about 90 degrees.  They were not in synch with one another but were performing the same maneuver at the same time.  They would flutter and rotate one direction about 90 degrees and then, a little less than a second later,they would flutter back to the original position.  After they had performed this maneuver about 10 times, a Nashville Warbler hopped onto an adjacent spike and joined in, performing the same maneuver.  They rotated back and forth together a few times then flitted off.
Very cool.  I had never really seen a bird mimicking another species' motion.
I had to think afterwards that, if this were set to music in a television commercial, we would all think it was fake.
Happy birding.
Steve MulhallRound Lake Beach, Illinois
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