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Red-Breasted Nuthatch

Red-Breasted Nuthatch

Posted by Grange Co-op on 7th Jan 2015

Male: A small, gray-backed bird with a black cap and a prominent black eye stripe and white eyebrow and cheek. Sports a rust red breast and belly and a pointed, slightly upturned bill.

Female: Similar to male, with a gray cap and more lightly colored underparts.


The female builds a nest of rootlets, grasses, mosses, and shredded bark in a natural cavity, old woodpecker hole, or birdhouse 5 - 120 feet above the ground. The entrance is smeared with sap or pitch to deter predators and catch insects. The female incubates 5-7 eggs which are white or slightly pink with brown speckles.


Countryside Culture Chickadee-Nuthatch box, Woodlink Designer Chickadee House. Shop bird houses.  


The nuthatch creeps headfirst down trunks of trees searching for insects. Eats seeds of conifers, and visits bird feeders for sunflower seed, nuts, and suet. They will grab a seed and fly off to crack it open by wedging it into a crevice and pounding it open with several sharp blows.


Rogue Deluxe, Rogue Premium, Rogue Chickadee, Black Oil Sunflower, Rogue Nut Treat and suet. Shop Wild Bird Food. Shop suet cakes and feeders. 


Breeding: almost any coniferous forest from sea level to timberline. Migration and winter: almost any woodlands. Has periodic irruptions south in winter in years when there is a failure of cone crop in northern regions. Birds must therefore move south to find food and often become more abundant at bird feeders in those years.


Nuthatches are unique among tree-climbing songbirds in that they use one foot to brace themselves while the other holds onto the bark. Woodpeckers and the Brown Creeper use their tails for stability. The Red-breasted Nuthatch has a breeding territory of 20-30 acres. They will use birdhouses and cavities to roost in, as well as for breeding.


The White-breasted Nuthatch is larger, has a plain white head with dark crown stripe and no rust on its underparts. The Pygmy Nuthatch is smaller and stockier, lacks the eye stripe and has no rust on the belly.

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