About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What bird sounds like a monkey?

When I walk the dogs in the Lansing parks I hear a bird that sounds like a monkey. Do you know what it is? R.

It could be the White Breasted Nuthatch. I always think woodpeckers and nuthatches sound like they are laughing, but they could also sound like the hoo, hoo, ha, ha, ha of the colobus monkey.

White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis

Order: PASSERIFORMES Family: Nuthatches (Sittidae)

Large nuthatch with blue-gray upperparts, black crown and nape, and white face and underparts. Tail is dark with white corners. Female is grayer.

The White-breasted Nuthatch is a common bird of deciduous forests and wooded urban areas. Known as the “upside down” bird, it is often observed creeping headfirst down tree trunks while searching cracks and crevices for insect food. The name Nuthatch probably results from the corruption of the word “nuthack” which refers to its habit of hacking away at a seed with its beak until it opens. At backyard feeders you may see them eating suet, nuts, or sunflower seeds.

Nuthatches are monogamous and defend a territory throughout the year. The female White-breasted Nuthatch rarely strays far from her mate and stays in constant vocal contact when they are more than a few yards apart playing the dominate role as “watchdog”, leaving the male more time to concentrate on hunting for food. They are feisty birds, and pairs generally defend a territory of 10 to 30 acres. They feast on seeds and insects found in trees, and many times will hide seeds from feeders in tree bark for a snack later in the day or breakfast the next morning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hah, this little bird makes a loud noise. Took us years to ID this song