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Two White-breasted Nuthatches were flying around our backyard, and from their behavior I think they were involved in some courtship rituals.

Nuthatch pair

Nuthatch pair.

Suddenly the bird on the right, a female probably, leaned on the branch as if she was going to sleep.

Nuthatch pretending to sleep.

Nuthatch pretending to sleep.

But only a second later she was up.

Nuthatch up.

Nuthatch up.

The pair continued to fly around together and spent a lot of time running up and down the trunk of an oak tree.

Nuthatches on tree trunk.

Nuthatches on tree trunk. She’s the one with two white dots on her nape.

Later on, the female landed on our deck railing and rolled over, shaking her feathers. I thought she was struck with something and was dying. I ran out, and she flew back to the oak tree to find her mate. You can say that I still have to learn a great deal about bird courtship.