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?