Sunday, January 13, 2008

Learning about birds . . . White-breasted Nuthatch

The White-breasted Nuthatch is a frequent visitor to our yard. We regularly have 2 (likely a pair) at the feeder. These birds are commonly found in deciduous forests and wooded areas like my yard. Here are some of the fun facts that I have found:

White-breasted Nuthatch:
- Nuthatches gather nuts and seeds, jam them into tree bark, and hammer or "hatch" the food open with their bills.
- White-breasted Nuthatches are monogamous and remain with their partner the whole year from the time of courtship to the creation of a dwelling place or until the partner disappears or dies.
- Aside from being one of a few birds who can creep down a tree trunk head first to forage for food or hang upside down, swinging from tiny branches, the White-breasted Nuthatch is also known to exhibit a weird behavior known as "bill sweeping" in which it picks up a piece of fur, plant or insect with its bill and uses this to sweep around its nest''s cavity. Scientists believe it does this to remove its own scent around the nest and prevent detection by predators.

White Breasted Nuthatch
Here's lookin' at ya!