During our Olympic sojourn, during family walks and trips to playgrounds, I carried my camera. One bird I was happy to encounter was this Red-breasted Nuthatch. This species is often common enough back home in Northfield, where it is found during migration and winter. But this species is unpredictable. Northern populations are migratory, more southerly ones are residents. All populations occasionally irrupt from their breeding grounds.
Little is known about these movements. We don’t know if irrupting nuthatches return to their breeding grounds. The usual assumption is that these movements are the result of scarce cyclical food supplies. Ornithologists also hypothesize that the irruptions happen when too many nuthatches occur in a given area. Probably the answer is a combination of low food supplies and too many birds (Ghalambor and Martin 1999).
I found this Red-breasted Nuthatch behind the Olympia Toyota dealer on 17 September 2016.