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.
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.