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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Speedy Nuthatch

A couple of weeks ago, this colorful streak was all I could get of this was bird as it zipped in and out of the backyard feeder.

red-breasted nuthatch (1)It took some waiting and a few more attempts to get a clearer image.

red-breasted nuthatch (2)

This was the best image captured. After checking a couple of bird books, I learned this is a Red-breasted Nuthatch, a small, compact bird with a  long, pointed bill, very short tail, plump chest and broad short wings. It is the most migratory of the four species of Nuthatches found in North America.

Red-breasted Nuthatches move quickly over trunks and branches probing for food in crevices and under flakes of bark. They creep up, down, and sideways and their flight is short and bouncy.  Some other nuthatch facts:

  • A group of nuthatches are collectively called a “jar” of nuthatches.
  • Red-breasted Nuthatches hoard excess food by wedging nuts into bark and then hammering them in with its bill.
  • During nest building, the Red-breasted Nuthatch is aggressive, chasing away other hole-nesting birds such as the House Wren, White-breasted Nuthatch, and Downy Woodpecker. 
  • They apply sticky conifer resin to the nest hole entrance and may carry the resin in its bill or on pieces of bark that it uses as an applicator.The male puts the resin on the outside of the hole while the female puts it around the inside. It may help to keep out predators or competitors. The nuthatch avoids the resin by diving directly through the hole.
  • Red-breasted Nuthatches sometimes steal nest-lining material from the nests of other birds.
  • Their enlarged hind toe and short tail help them climb up and down trees.

14 comments:

grammie g said...

Hi Beatrice ...your little speed demon is a year round resident in our area!!
Love there antics and constant chatter !!
If he can't get at the nuts he wants he pushes the other seeds out of his way and on the ground!!
Glad you got to see one!!

*Honest Abe said...

We have the White-breasted Nuthatches here all winter and more in the summer. I just photographed the first Red-breasted Nuthatch of the season that was here yesterday. I will have to post a picture on my birds blog. I like the way you captured your bird. Cool...

Anvilcloud said...

We once had one land on us and feed from our hands.

possum said...

AC is not kidding! Mine will, too. Just stand real still near the bird feeders with a little favorite food in your hand and they will land on you and eat, eventually sitting several seconds and picking theu the seeds and nut pieces. Try it!

Linda (PA_shutterbug) said...

That second picture of the nuthatch is very nice. I like the feel of movement, too, in the first picture.

Out on the prairie said...

It is hard not to pan and smear when you are trying to catch a bird.I really enjoy these birds.Iwatched one hide food only to be followed by ared-bellied woodpecker harvesting its hoard.

Montanagirl said...

We see those in our yard too. They're so quick though that it's hard to get quality photos.

Sandra said...

I am smiling at the vision in my head of a JAR of nuthatches. the is a pretty little bird. we had one in our yard today, never seen before, about 3 or 4 inch high and brown, nothing we have seen, he was hopping around eating and made us smile

Sandra said...

no photo of the bird. we have the windows open and bob saw him out the bathroom window, so now way to get a shot

Ginnie said...

Are you sure that's a Red-breasted Nuthatch? I've never known them to come as far South as where you are. I used to see many up in New York State. The ones I see here (in North Carolina) are the brown-breasted and I love to watch them scurry up tree trunks scavenging for bugs.

thecottagebythecranelakeolof1 said...

We don´t have that one over here, but I think we have two other relatives to it. Beautiful little bird!

Have a great day now!
Christer.

Cicero Sings said...

We have red breasted nut hatches here but they don't quite look like your own. They are quick little things and live by us year round.

Country Mouse Studio said...

I love these little guys, glad you caught a good shot.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Hi Everyone, this was a fortunate sighting that hasn't been repeated. This bird may still be in the area, just not at the same time that I'm outdoors.

AC and Possum, it would be great to be able to hand feed, but hard to take photos too :-(

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