Red-breasted Nuthatch

Hey guys, welcome back! We got ourselves a nuthatch today! The red-breasted nuthatch is the second of two eastern species of nuthatch (there’s more out west which hopefully will be added to my list some day.) They are actually found throughout North America including 49 of the 50 states (sorry Hawaii) and are more common in the Rocky Mountains where they live year round. Most of the rest of the US just sees them in non breeding season. Their arrival can also be somewhat irruptive, though not to the extent of, say, a common redpoll. They sound similar to the white-breasted nuthatch, but have a slightly higher and faster song.

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Red-breasted nuthatch, Forest Park, St. Louis, MO

They are slightly smaller than their white-breasted counterparts, and have an orangish breast, white face and black eyestripe and crown. Like other nuthatches, they typically walk down the side of a tree while searching the crevices of the bark for insects. In winter they will eat seeds more often as bugs can be scarce that time of year. As such, they can be found visiting your feeders. They nest in hollows and often surround the opening with sticky tree sap to discourage unwanted guests.

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My first red-breasted nuthatch, Central Park, NY

After having tried to find one numerous times in Central Park, I sort of gave up. Only one or two were every really seen each year, so I just figured I’d spot one as some point. Then I was in a spot of Central Park known as Fort Fish, I was watching a kinglet in a pine tree. Then, there was a red-breasted nuthatch! Turns out, they love coniferous trees. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve only ever seen two in a broad leafed tree. I would find these little guys in St. Louis where they liked the baldcypress near the Gateway Arch, and here in Ohio, I’ve seen a couple, one of which was in a pine. I last saw one this past spring. Turns out it was much sought after by the local birders who keep county specific lists. As of this writing, I’m one of only a few people in the county to have one for 2020. An accomplishment without even trying! Next up, we have our first duck species in quite a while. Northern pintail is next, see you all then!

3 thoughts on “Red-breasted Nuthatch

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  1. Where in Central Park is Fort Fish? I am not familiar with it. Excellent shots of the Red-Breasted Nuthatch? I heard a White-Breasted Nuthatch today. I’ve only seen a Red-Breasted Nuthatch once eating bits of pizza someone threw in a bush.

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