Saturday, November 5, 2011

Red-breasted Nuthatch

I previously blogged about Red-breasted Nuthatches on 6 October 2010. John H. and I found an inquisitive flock of about a dozen nuthatches at Crex Meadows, an area I wrote about in my last post. These birds readily investigate squeaking noises made by birders. The bird above is feeding in a typical up-side-down nuthatch fashion. I think its odd white crown is an artifact of the lighting in the photograph--we did not notice it in the field. We were serenaded the whole time by the nuthatch's "yank-yank-yank" call. (This file is used with permission of Thayer Birding Software's Birds of North America.)

As I mentioned in the 2010 post, Red-breasted Nuthatches tend to irrupt irregularly out of the North Woods. These movements can cover great distances, in some years all the way to the Gulf Coast. This species has even accidentally flown all the way to Europe. This ability to disperse results considerable genetic mixing among North American nuthatches. Consequently, ornithologists are not able to differentiate races among these populations.

1 comment:

  1. I have family of these guys who are at feeder year-round, they are one of my favorites. They nested in one of my birdhouses several years ago and raised a family of 4.
    At the moment, one is hauling off sunflower seeds from the feeder and caching them under the shingles of the shed.