Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatches irregularly irrupt out of the North Woods.  I banded this nuthatch on Sunday. These irruptions are caused by shortages of spruce budworms and conifer seeds in the north.  This movement, when it does occur, can begin early--like in early July or August.  Be careful not to interpret these early migrants, which may include relatively young birds, as local breeders.

Also adding to confusing breeding records is the fact that Red-breasted Nuthatches will sometimes begin excavating their small, square nest cavities south of where the species breed.  Later in the spring, these early excavators continue their northward migration.  When this species is breeding, females usually choose the nest site and do most of the excavating.  Unmated males, however, often begin excavations, in hopes of attracting females (Cornell Lab of Ornithology).

Most Minnesota birders own a copy of Robert Janssen's Birds in Minnesota.  Although now somewhat dated, this book is a good resource on where and when to expect birds in Minnesota. Many of us are also faniliar with Kim Eckert's A Birder's Guide to Minnesota.  This book gives directions to good birding spots in all Minnesota counties.  Some birders are less familiar with his review of Minnesota birds, complete with sophisticated identification tips.  Kim keeps his book updated on the web.

No comments:

Post a Comment