Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Two Connecticut Nuthatches


Connecticut has two nuthatches, the Red-breasted Nuthatch (top pic), and the White-breasted Nuthatch (bottom pic). Both have the unique ability of climbing the trunk of a tree -head down -(don't try this at home!).

Note the distinct black eye stripe and white supercilium on the Red-breasted Nuthatch. It has a song described as a series of clear, nasal rising calls repeated slowly eeen eeen eeen...(Sibley). Some say that they sound like they're blowing a little tin horn.The ones that I've come across, have had a consistently quiet but nasaly song. It is the smaller (and quicker!) of the two nuthatches.

The White-breasted Nuthatch has a white face and dark crown stripe. Its call is described as a nasal yenk or renk slightly descending-often trilled or rolling (Sibley). I've run in to small groups of this species while out in the woods. They can be mighty noisy with a lot of variation in their songs.They are pretty well-behaved at my feeders .

For more detail about the two species go to Cornell's All About Birds and click on:
Red-breasted Nuthatch or White-breasted nuthatch.

I was happy to have the Red-breasted Nuthatch as a visitor this week. They are much less common than the White-breasted Nuthatch which are at my feeders all year. Both of them eat peanuts, and sunflower seeds.There have been reports of increasing numbers of the Red-breasted Nuthatches moving through the state over the last couple of weeks.

I can tell you that the Red-breasted Nuthatch has been very feisty. I caught it jabbing its bill in to the side of a House Sparrow at one of my feeders. I felt bad for the poor House Sparrow...NOT!!!

Outside of an occasional visit at my feeders, I some times find Red-breasted Nuthatches where there are stands of Pine.


How many species of Nuthatch do you have in your area? Which are the most common and least common?

11 comments:

mon@rch said...

I have the same two species of nuthatches and to be honest, both are about as common here! RBNU's seem to be everywhere now days! BTW: Looks like you have the same squirrel proof feeder as I do!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Larry,
Last week I noticed the red-breasted nuthatch has become a frequent visitor at my feeders. This is a first for me as I've only seen one about 3 years ago. It's quite a bold and fearless little birdie and I love hearing its little nasal calls. There are white breasted nuthatches in my area also, but I don't see them very often at my feeders either. I really like nuthatches and your pictures were great!

Larry said...

Monarch-I realize that you any many other blogger are in more rural areas than I-so the RB-Nut being common doesn't surprise me.

Ruthiej-they are an irruptive species around here-moving south for more food at times.

Jayne said...

Hey Larry... I've never seen the RBNU, but we have plenty of the WBNU here. I love to see them!

Larry said...

Jayne-They really are unique birds!

Dana said...

White-breasted are pretty common. Red-breasted no so. I have seen them down at the nature center that has an awesome feeding station, but never around our feeders.

Lynne said...

Red-breasted nuthatches are winter visitors in the Twin City area where I live. I just got home from Hasty Brook (150 miles north of home)and the RBNU's were thinch around my feeders. They are very snippy little birds but what a blast to watch their aerial acrobatics! White-breasted nuthatches are common year-round throughout Minnesota.

Larry said...

Dana-Some nature centeres are great places to watch birds!

Lynne-The 1 in my yard moves around pretty good.-I could just imagine watching a bunch of them at the feeder!

Mary said...

Hi Larry,

As usual, you make me laugh. Just this evening, I was leaning on the fence and two brown headed nuthatches landed on the nuts. Very adorable and I see them every day.

I've seen white breasted nuthatches occasionally, but I'm not certain about that. They come and go so quickly, I haven't been able to get a proper ID.

Birdfreak said...

I love both "nutties" equally, but the Red-breasted Nuthatch we don't see all year. They prefer to hang out a bit north of us.

Ruth said...

We have the same two nuthatches and I have seen both on the trails. I have never attracted any to my suet or peanuts. Even the Downy woodpeckers ignore my offerings and prefer to peck holes in my neighbour's wood siding.