Birds of Nebraska: Newspaper Accounts, 1854-1923

Editor [possibly Miles Greenleaf]. November 5, 1922. Are You Upset [Nuthatch]? Omaha Sunday World-Herald 58(6): 10-E. A bird editorial.

Are You Upset.

No matter how upset you may be, this is a good day to go out into the woods and introduce yourself to a bird who is upset all the time, and rejoices in it.

Maybe your are upset because of your taxes or the high cost of living or the election or some other human nonsense that birds scorn to worry about - but in the grove you will find the White Breasted Nuthatch - with his head downward - and yet as happy as any meadowlark who ever whistled up the rosy sunrise of a May time morn.

Robust little chap, this Nuthatch, with his coat of slate-gray, black and white. His bead-eyes snap at you as he hops jerkily down the tree trunk looking for provender in the bark crevices for the good of his pinkish tummy and likewise for the good of the tree.

"Yank! Yank! Yank!" he mutters through his nose, prying a reluctant bark-cootie from its hidden lair. "Yank! Gr-r-r-r!"

If he has teeth, he seems to grit 'em at you - poor foolish human out here on a November Sabbath morning, lugging with you all those petty pestilences of a week of worldly toil and fret.

Forget 'em - he would seem to command.

"See the fix I'm in myself," he would argue. "Upside down all the time - and yet My face never gets red? You never find ME sulking on the job - leastwise, not when there's such a lot of nice, fat chow to be had in exchange for a bit of work. And I do a lot o' good, too, if I do say so myself. If I didn't keep moseying down these tree trunks, there wouldn't BE any trees, take it from me!

"There's that big fat Cardinal, over yonder. He's a bum, even if he IS all red and pretty. He sits up there and sings in the summer and everybody makes love to him, but I notice that nowadays, and in the winter, he likes to hang around ME so he can pick up a crumb or two I might knock down. I know I ain't so good at singing, but when it comes to laying by a supply of grub, I'm a democrat, believe me! Yank - you big stiff! There's another one for you! Pick it up!

Head downward, always on the job, carefully hiding for future emergencies whatever food he doesn't need at the moment - the White Breasted Nuthatch will give you an object lesson in political and spiritual economy if you will take your body and soul into the woods.

He is but one of God's many pastors; worth seeing and hearing.