Bushtits - Psaltriparus minimus
Look closely between leaves to see Bushtit pulling on spider web
Last week on the UCLA campus, on a little trail that I found that goes through an oak forest, I observed some interesting behavior by a pair of Bushtits. I spotted them when they flew into a California Bay Laurel tree I was standing under and they were only about five feet overhead. As I watched, the pair took turns teasing out strands of spiderweb from the back of a leaf, where a spider had evidently packed up something for later.
The two birds worked at that little packet of webbing for about ten minutes, occassionally getting their feet stuck in the sticky web, which was quite comical to watch. One would pull some web out, then fly to a nearby branch to ball the webbing up with its beak while the other took a turn pulling.
After I took the photo above, they worked on it for another few minutes until I guess they had what they needed and flew off. Bushtits build huge nests in comparison to their dimunitive size (approx. 2 1/4" - 3" long). I have no doubt that they have returned to this little prize again and again to get more material.
It's the little bird dramas such as these that really make bird watching memorable!