Red-breasted Nuthatch, Another Winter Visitor

The winter of 2010/2011 is looking like it might be an exciting season at the backyard bird feeders. Some irruptive bird species have appeared already after being scarce for several years. Irruptive birds are those species which drift south from their normal territories as winter approaches in search of more abundant food sources. One of the most noticeable of these wandering birds is the Red-Breasted Nuthatch. From the Northern Boreal forests of thick conifers with mixed deciduous trees, they have had little reason to develop a fear of human activities. You will often find yourself in close proximity to them and they may even snatch a seed as you attempt to fill the feeder. Nuthatch are often referred to as the upside-down bird since they approach their food from the top, walking down the tree head-first. They will rarely sit at the feeder to feed. Instead, as with our resident White-Breasted Nuthatch, they will take the seed and wedge it into a crack or crevice of a tree and hammer it open. Enjoy these feathered visitors from the North Country. They will be with us until the first or second week of May before they head home.

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