RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH

RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH (Sitta canadensis)

The red-breasted nuthatch is smaller than the white-breasted nuthatch, but its main call, a nasal sound although similar to that of the white-breasted nuthatch, has a lower pitch. Sexes have similar plumage. These small birds with very short tails have a peculiar way of searching for insects in tree bark crevices: they usually start at the top and proceed down the tree, head first, holding the head high when checking around, giving them an almost acrobatic posture, with their strong feet claws (see photos below) firmly holding on to the bark behind their tiny bodies.

These birds are also very fond of seeds, notably black sunflower seeds at bird feeders, as can be seen below, even braving a blizzard to reach their favorite food. Red-breasted nuthatches are year-round residents in PEI. Interestingly, these tiny birds are bolder than black-capped chickadees at the bird feeder, and will easily displace them.

Red-breasted nuthatch stopping by for a late evening snack - Apr. 27, 2017 - by Matt Beardsley
Red-breasted nuthatch stopping by for a late evening snack – Apr. 27, 2017 – by Matt Beardsley
Red-breasted Nuthatch - near O'Leary, PEI - Mar. 9, 2018 - © Jodi Arsenault -
Red-breasted Nuthatch – near O’Leary, PEI – Mar. 9, 2018 – © Jodi Arsenault –
Red-breasted nuthatch - PEI, Oct.12, 2017 - © Marie Smith
Red-breasted nuthatch – PEI, Oct.12, 2017 – © Marie Smith

The first video shows two red-breasted nuthatches on a suet log at the same time.

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This video above shows a red-breasted nuthatch feeding on suet during a blizzard, with the log going back and forth in the wind. The video gives a better idea of what this tiny little bird goes through for a few bits of food during bad weather!