Nuthatch in Hand at High Park: October 7, 2020

The name “nuthatch” refers to the habit of some members of this species to wedge a large insect or seed in a crack and hack at it with their strong bills. 

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatches are found all over eastern North America and to about Sudbury in Ontario.

Red-breasted Nuthatches extend further north and are common in the boreal forest to as far north as James Bay.

Red-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatches frequent bird feeders in all seasons of the year:

As a child, I remember seeing my grandfather toss peanut pieces in the air where they were seized in mid air by White-breasted Nuthatches.

White-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch

Their habit of clinging to tree bark with head pointed down is characteristic:

White-breasted Nuthatch

This morning we were visited by a White-breast:

White-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch

Other birds:

Mallards (female)
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler in Buckthorn
Yellow-rumped Warbler in Buckthorn
Yellow-rumped Warbler in Buckthorn
Wood Ducks
Wood Duck (male)
Wood Duck (female)
Wood Duck (male)
American Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
Northern Cardinal (male)

Species list: mallard, wood duck, Cooper’s hawk, rock pigeon, downy woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, blue jay, black-capped chickadee, red-breasted nuthatch, white-breasted nuthatch, brown creeper, American robin, yellow-rumped warbler, house sparrow, common grackle, northern cardinal, American goldfinch, white-throated sparrow. (18 species)

Other life:

Cabbage White Butterfly
Red-sided Slider Turtles
Wood Duck (male) with Red-sided Slider Turtles

Park scenes:

Colborne Lodge

Today’s group:

Some botany:

Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)
Glossy Buckthorn (Rhamnus utilis)
White Ash (Fraxinus americana)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus)
Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara)
Panicled Aster (Symphyotrichum lanceolatum)
Sky-blue Aster (Symphyotrichum oolentandiense)
New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)
Shaggy Mane
Poison Ivy (Toxicodendron rydbergii) berries
Hackberry leaf galls


Sing a song of seasons,
Something bright in all,
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall.                           – Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–94) 

Miles Hearn

2 thoughts on “Nuthatch in Hand at High Park: October 7, 2020

  1. Lisa Volkov

    Beautiful birds–so precious, seeing that dear little Nuthatch feeding from a human hand–until it is followed by the (mercifully) conjured up image of a large insect being wedged in a crack and hacked at…good one, Miles! (I’m laughing ruefully) Don’t spare us–nature isn’t always cute and pretty! The bird that does it is clever, and it’s no worse than carving up the Thanksgiving turkey, I suppose–if it’s dead, that is. Fascinating to know. I won’t ever forget that one! (Delightful plants, too!)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *