Is That What I Think It Is?
A couple of weeks ago I noticed a little bird zipping back and forth between my peanut feeder, sunflower seed feeder and my sunflower chip feeder. Because they move with lightning speed, I was not able to see clearly what it was. Later that day, I was out filling and cleaning up around my feeder station and I heard the familiar Red-breasted nuthatch whine. I’d had White-breasted nuthatches this past summer but I never get many of either species. It’s usually just a pair at most.
Finally, she came and spent some time on my sunflower chip feeder right outside my back door. I was sure it was just somebody passing through so I didn’t pay much attention to her.
Now There’s Another Nuthatch
Before the end of the day I saw two of them working my peanut feeder. In their classic upside-down feeding style, they were fairly easy to spot. I still didn’t think much of these two because I was sure they were on their way elsewhere.
Three weeks later, I was still enjoying the playful nuthatch pranks. I decided to do some research and found they were here for a specific reason: food. The article I read about them from my TN Watchable Wildlife site talked about “irruptions” which happen when conifer seed production is low and normally northerly nesting birds move south. That’s obviously what’s happened here because in the fifteen years I’ve been feeding birds I’ve seen ONE that only visited for a short time.
Why I Love This Red-breasted Nuthatch
As I mentioned above, they are such a playful, happy sounding species. I had one instance where I was trying to refill the peanut feeder and the female Red-breasted nuthatch wouldn’t budge. She waited until I was within inches of her to grudgingly allow me to fill the feeder. LOL! I know birds feel the energy and know you don’t intend to harm them. Still, it amazes me every time a little bird lets me walk up to it.
And then, she only moved a couple feet up and stared at me. No, glared at me.
Deciding I was taking too long to fill it, this Red-breasted nuthatch started trying to land on the feeder I was holding before I could get it back up! No joking. Just for the heck of it I held out some peanut pieces to see if she’d feed. After making no less than ten loops from the branch back to the branch I thought I’d just finish and let her feed in peace.
She gave me a little trill to let me know she appreciated me.
Have You Seen Any Red-breasted Nuthatches?
If so, leave me a comment below and tell me where you are, when they first arrived and if they’ve stayed. Also, if you’ve enjoyed this post please share it using the buttons below.
Enjoy your residents and visitors this season!
PS-Sorry that I can’t recommend the best feeder for them. They’ve eaten everything from suet to sunflower seeds without preference. The only thing I’ve seen that drives their choice is how crowded one is over the other.