A Bushtit "Group Hug"
The following photos and comments were sent in by Marlene Foard.
"I saw some very interesting Bushtit behavior this weekend in Duchesne Co. After feeding on suet, the whole group of 8 Bushtits gathered together in shrub oak and did like a group hug (honest to goodness!). They were all preening each other. ...wind was blowing the branches and they were pretty deep in the oak. But, you can see some of the "togetherness". It was very different!"
~ Marlene Foard
The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior, says (p. 433):
"Bushtits are very active foragers. Outside the nesting season, they form large flocks comprising several family groups and led by a single bird or perhaps a set of leaders. Such flocks often stay together over a period of several years, driving off outsiders...
...On winter nights, foraging flocks roost communally in dense cover, often huddling shoulder to shoulder during cold spells."