Moving up, down, sideways and rarely lingering, nuthatches are feeder favorites. Our largest nuthatch, the White-breasted, is a daily visitor, foraging on suet as well as grain. Oftentimes one will dart in and grab a sunflower seed, then fly to a nearby oak tree. There, it can lodge the seed in a bark fissure and “hatch the nut” with sharp blows to the shell from its powerful bill.



The tiny Red-breasted Nuthatch is special. With a more northern distribution and preference for coniferous forests, it is less common at the feeders than the White-breasted. Several years ago there was one, and it disappeared mid winter; last year there were none. We might have a pair this year and I’m taking every opportunity to document their presence. Love this tiny, colorful bundle of energy!



Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.


15 thoughts on “Nuthatches!

    • My pleasure Hien. According to my references you’re well within the winter range. However, the distribution is said to be irregular from year to year and the presence of coniferous habitat is important. In any event, hope you have some good sightings of this delightful feeder bird in the near future!

  1. The Red-breasted Nuthatch is my favorite. My first sighting ever was many years ago on a campus where I worked. I call the little bird the “little bandit”… Keep the photos coming!

  2. Delightful pics. For years we had both coming to our feeders. We stopped feeding during the summer because it seems that bears also enjoy sunflower seeds! One dry summer I was hunched over watering plants in the garden. A red-breasted nuthatch flew onto my shoe and began to drink water from the hose in my hand. One of those absolutely unbelievable moments.

    • That’s the best strategy. Habitat management is biologically sound and sustainable. Plants that produce persistent fruit and provide shelter from wind, cold rain and snow are my priorities. I’ve discovered a pair of grouse spending the winter in a dense spruce windbreak that I planted 30 years ago. They’ll also be eating the buds of apple, aspen and hophornbeam this winter – all trees that i have encouraged. Puts a smile on my face. Good luck!

  3. Nuthatches are amazing to me, the way they go up and down and sideways. And so striking looking, too. I get some here because of the native trees I have. After all the ash trees died in the area we had an uptick in these and also hairy woodpeckers. I’d much rather have the birds than all those dumb looking ashes!

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