Sunday, December 20, 2009

First Red-breasted Nuthatch at the Feeders

Red-breasted nuthatch is visible on tube feeder (click for larger view)

Today the first red-breasted nuthatch we've seen here showed up several times at our tube feeder. We quite often see the larger white-breasted nuthatch, which is a year-round resident in almost the entire eastern United States, but the adorable little red-breasted is an irregular winter-only resident in southern Minnesota and indeed most of the U.S. There is another nuthatch, the brown-headed, which lives in the southern U.S.

Cropped version of same photo

The red-breasted has a distinctive black and white stripe over the eyes and, yes, a ruddy-tan breast. The very short tail and the strong, woodpecker-like beak are other telltales signs you are looking at a nuthatch. Nuthatches can often been seen walking down branches or tree trunks head-first; if you see a bird doing this, chances are very good it's a nuthatch. I always enjoy seeing them.
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Jim H. said...

That creature grazing at the base of the feeder pole didn't scare the poor nuthatches away?

Penelope said...

She doesn't make many sudden movements, so it's cool.