Thursday, January 16, 2014

White-breasted Nuthatch

This is another of our little birds of winter.  Like chickadees, nuthatches are year-round residents here. It is always a pleasure to see one hitching down the trunk of a tree, head-first.

The White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) is the largest of the four North American nuthatch species.  Their habitat is deciduous and mixed deciduous-coniferous forests and treed residential areas (that's me, waving hands).

Pete Dunne describes this bird as "a chunky, neckless, child's fist-sized wind-up toy of a bird...."

Nuthatches get their common name from their habit of jamming large seeds and nuts into tree bark, then whacking them with their sharp bill to “hatch” out the seed from the inside.  

White-breasted Nuthatches store food in cache sites with each storage place containing only one type of food.

Nuthatches do not use their tails for stability as do woodpeckers and Brown Creepers.  Instead, one foot is used to brace the bird against the tree, the other foot holds onto the bark.

White-breasted Nuthatch Range Map
Range Map & Info source:
Birds of Canada 
All About Birds 
Pete Dunne's Essential Field Guide Companion

1 comment:

  1. White breasted a regular at my feeders. The red breasted is a much rarer visitor from Canada. We like them both....:)