Bird Lady Blog

August 17, 2017

Our Busy Nuthatches


Pygmy Nuthatch

One of my most favorite bird species in Munds Park is the Pygmy Nuthatch. I think I like them so much because they are so unafraid, and bold, and gregarious.  And they come in groups – never one at a time.  You hear them and then you see them, coming within a few feet of you to your sunflower seed feeder or birdbath.

Pygmy Nuthatches are considered small song birds, but what they sound like is a series of chirps, mostly on a single pitch – not melodious at all, but certainly getting your attention when a group of them arrives. They mostly flit from branch to branch looking for insects such as caterpillars, moths, and spiders, and for conifer seeds.  They readily will take sunflower seeds and chopped nuts from your feeders.

Pygmy Nuthatches are very communal, roosting together in the cavities of trees in cold weather and also providing nesting help to others of their species. We have Pygmy Nuthatches at our feeders daily, but I always wonder where their nests are and how they are raising their young.  The nest is most likely tucked away somewhere in a tree cavity or crevice 15 feet up and out of our sight.

The other nuthatch species we have here regularly is the White-Breasted Nuthatch. It is much larger than the Pygmy, relatively speaking, is solitary unless it has young around, and spends more time climbing up and down trees than the Pygmies.

The third species that comes through Munds Park is the Red-Breasted Nuthatch. I have seen it only during a couple of seasons, towards the beginning of fall, and it was mingling in with the Pygmy Nuthatches.  It has a distinct black eye stripe, and of course a red breast.  If any of you readers spot one, I sure would like to know.

Nuthatch predators include squirrels, owls, and woodpeckers. And according to Wikipedia, there are over 20 nuthatch species across the world, including in India, China, Thailand, Burma, Turkey, Russia, the Bahamas, Mexico, England, and Wales.

Finally, two sightings are worthwhile noting these past two weeks: a Zone-Tailed Hawk soaring above the front nine of Pinewood Country Club, and a single White-Faced Ibis at the pond off of Hole #10.  You gotta’ love golfing when you can catch an unusual bird or two at the same time!

 

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