|Red-breasted Nuthatch enjoying Preston the Penguin seed cylinder available at Wild Birds Unlimited East Lansing, MI|
Nuthatches are small, short-tailed birds with pointy black beaks and strong feet. They are fun to watch especially as they forage down tree trucks, often head-first from the top to the bottom, picking insects and grubs from the under the bark. We have the larger White-breasted Nuthatch year-round visiting the sunflower, suet and nut feeders. The red-breasted join them from September to May.
They have a blue-gray back, a rusty red breast and a black cap with a white stripe above the eye. They are about 4 ½ inches long and weigh less then ½ an ounce. Male and female red-breasted nuthatches look alike, except the female has a bluish black cap and paler underparts.
Red-breasted nuthatches are native throughout the nearctic region and are the only species in the nuthatch (Sittidae) family that migrates south in the fall. They make it a treat to fill the feeders on cold mornings when they perch just above your shoulder and cheer you on.
The nuthatches don’t stay long at the feeders though. They prefer to grab a seed and hide or cache their food to retrieve and eat at a later time. They hide hundreds of seeds all over their territory, in a behavior known as scatter-hoarding to keep their stash a secret from competitors and help them survive during bad weather and when food sources are low.
Birds Move Trees http://bit.ly/oPqFgG
Screech Owls cache uneaten prey items in cavities http://bit.ly/pJ7jCP
Red-Bellied Woodpecker stores its food in the barks of trees http://bit.ly/nqYS7j
Mine! All Mine: Why Squirrels Hoard http://bit.ly/qFANnl
Michigan’s Top 20 Winter Backyard Birds http://bit.ly/qq5xu1
What birds migrate from Michigan? http://bit.ly/ngkPX3