SIB “Bird of the Week” – Our Nuthatches

At first glance you might mistake a White-breasted Nuthatch for a chickadee with their grey backs, black cap, and white belly, but the nuthatch is about an inch bigger than our Carolina Chickadee.

Nuthatches are compact little birds with very short tails and no neck to speak of. They have a unique foraging behavior, crawling over and around tree limbs and trunks, often walking down a tree head first. They are looking for tiny bugs and spiders hiding in the crevices of trees. The White-breasted Nuthatch and Brown-headed Nuthatch are common in the Carolinas and do not migrate. The Red-breasted Nuthatches (Sitta canadensis) live mostly in Canada and high mountains. When there is a very bad winter they will come south, and you may see them at feeders.

Brown-headed Nuthatch – Ed Konrad

The Brown-headed Nuthatches (Sitta pusilla) rarely visit feeders and spend much of their time foraging in pine trees. They are about the size of a Carolina Chickadee. Usually, they are out on the limbs in the tops of trees. I rarely see these little birds, but you can hear their unmistakable call which sounds like a dog’s squeaky toy. While Brown-headed Nuthatches prefer pine forest the White-breasted Nuthatches are usually found in older hardwood forest.

White-breasted Nuthatch – Kathy Woolsey

White-breasted Nuthatches (Sitta carolinensis) are common garden birds and will often visit feeders. They love suet, peanut butter, and sunflower seed. They have a funny little call, a very nasal nak-nak-nak and will often announce their arrival at a feeder. They can be feisty little birds and will fan out their tail and wing feathers to scare off much bigger birds at a feeder. White-breasted are not as social as other nuthatches but they will hang out with chickadees and other small birds in the winter.

Submitted by: Kathy Woolsey James Island SC

Author: sibirders

SEABROOK ISLAND BIRDERS / “watching, learning, protecting” Seabrook Island Birders (SIB) are residents, renters and guests of Seabrook Island, SC who have an interest in learning, protecting and providing for the well-being of the incredible variety of birds that inhabit Seabrook Island throughout the year.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: