Though it’s cold and dreary much of the time these days, it turns out that even in January, there’s good reason to be outdoors here on Gabriola Island right now. The light is lasting a tiny bit longer with each passing day, crocus and daffodils are starting to push up, and birds like this Red-breasted nuthatch can easily be found for the looking.
It’s unusual to see a nuthatch sitting so still. Usually this species is in constant motion, scrambling head-first down, then back up conifer trunks to glean seeds and insects that other birds have missed – or darting quickly away to consume its find in private.
Perhaps this individual was simply enjoying a bit of winter sun, or maybe it was taking advantage of what the late author Ruth Stout called winter’s “longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.” Either way, it was kind of the bird to sit still long enough to allow me to make this photo.