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.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A closer look at the Red-breasted Nuthatch for #GBBC

Get to know your birds before the Great Backyard Birdcount (#GBBC)
Red-breasted Nuthatch photo by Wikimedia Commons
Red-breasted nuthatches are small nuthatches with compact bodies, short tails and necks, and a long tapered bill. They are about 4 ½ inches long, and weigh less than ½ an ounce. They have gray back feathers and rusty-colored belly feathers with a black cap on their head, a broad black stripe over their eye, and a white stripe above it.

Nuthatches have very sturdy toes and claws that allow them to climb down trees headfirst or hang upside down from branches as they look for insects hiding under tree bark. They can be found in mid-Michigan year round but I usually see them at the feeders only in the winter.

They are attracted to seed cylinders, peanuts, suet, mealworms, sunflower and safflower seeds. Nuthatches often wedge food pieces in bark crevices in order to break them up with their bill or just shove them under the bark to eat later. In fact, "Nuthatch" is a linguistic corruption of "nuthack", referring to the bird's habit of wedging nuts into cracks and hacking them open. 

Related Articles:
- Bird Guilds: How different birds band together to survive http://goo.gl/d0VzDD
- Bird of the week: Red-breasted Nuthatch http://bit.ly/sXqKVH
- Fascinating Nuthatch Bill-Sweeping & Wing Fanning http://bit.ly/s4MWlV
- Facts every backyard birder wants know about Nuthatches http://bit.ly/tBbDbQ
- Black and white bird walking upside down on a tree trunk http://goo.gl/RUCT6O

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