Wild Wednesday: White-Breasted Nuthatch

May 6, 2020

We’ve been so grateful that among the many things volunteer-extraordinaire Amanda Dauman has done for CEED is writing a regular column for our Facebook page.  With our newly redesigned website and enhanced social media efforts, Amanda is converting her Feature Friday posts to Wild Wednesdays to offer interesting information about plants and animals living in New York.  For her first Wild Wednesdays post, Amanda tells us about the White-breasted Nuthatch!

The white-breasted nuthatch is a very common bird feeder visitor that loves seeds and nuts. Putting out peanuts, sunflower seeds, and other large nuts as well as suet will attract this fairly small bird to your feeder. In fact, they get their name from their habit of jamming large nuts and acorns into tree bark, then whacking them with their sharp bill to “hatch” out the seed from the inside.This bird is also a voracious insect-eater, browsing the nooks and crannies of tree bark for their next meal. Nuthatches can scale trees up and down head first as they forage. Nuthatches live in pairs year-round and will often chase out other nuthatches from their shared territory, which can usually be found in deciduous forests.

Although this bird is common throughout its range, it relies on a resource most humans find unnerving – dead and dying trees (since they can collapse onto property). Since the birds nest in the holes of these dead or dying trees, and therefore rely on these trees kept standing in their habitat, they are vulnerable to routine pruning of forest land.

Have you ever seen a white-breasted nuthatch? You’ll have a great chance of spotting one by placing a bird feeder out in your yard, then spreading the seed on the ground to attract the birds closer to your feeder. They are also loud, “obnoxious” birds, so you have probably heard them before and never realized it!

Amanda Dauman

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