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 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.
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.
Their habit of clinging to tree bark with head pointed down is characteristic:
This morning we were visited by a White-breast:
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)
Sing a song of seasons,
Something bright in all,
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall. – Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–94)
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!)
And turtles, and insects, and (previous) snake…