Guest Author - Lisa Shea
In the 2000 release of Charlie's Angels, the secret to finding the bad guys is when Cameron Diaz identifies the sound of a "pygmy nuthatch". She claims it's only found in Carmel, California. Was this Hollywood Magic?
Bosley with the Bird
According to most birders, the bird actually seen in the movie is a Troupial (Icterus icterus). This is a South American bird that isn't found in Carmel, California, unless perhaps it escaped from a zoo! But the Troupial wasn't speaking with its own voice either. A Troupial makes loud Oriole-type noises (since it's related to the orioles) - a "cheer-to" sort of call. The sound Cameron heard was more of a warbly song.
An Aruba stamp with a Troupial image
Troupial with permission from Robert L Curry
How about the Pygmy Nuthatch (Sitta pygmaea)? This can be found all over the western part of the US - not just Carmel, California. And its call is a typical nuthatch call, an ank-ank-ank noise. Also not the noise Cameron heard.
Lucy Liu Encounters the Bird
It's hard to imagine how they possibly could have gotten that bright orange-and-black bird confused with this small grey-and-white bird!
Pygmy Nuthatch Photo with permission of Daniel A. Guthrie
So we had one bird posing as the nuthatch, with another bird giving it a voice! Ah, the wonders of Hollywood unreality!
Want more fun? Here are short video clips where the "Pygmy Nuthatch" has its moment. Help me identify exactly what bird sound is being played! Maybe a finch?
The Song: 891k
The Description: 1,884k
Nuthatch Photos - On a Tree