WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH

WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH(Sitta carolinensis)
DESCRIPTION: The White-breasted Nuthatch has blue-grey upper parts with a black cap. Nape is black. Under parts and face are white, rump is rusty. Tail is short and head  relatively large. Bill is long and straight. Sexes are similar. Bird length is around 13 cm (5 inches).   There are several subspecies.
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Sitta-carolinensis
NAME: ‘Nuthatch’ relates to the feeding behavior of this bird. Latin genus name ‘Sitta’ and means ‘nuthatch’. Species Latin name ‘carolinensis’ refers to the location where the first specimen was identified.
HABITAT: Mostly mature deciduous forests.
DIET: Forages for insects in bark crevices in the summer, feeds on seeds and acorns in the winter. Attracted to bird feeders.
NESTING: Nests in tree cavities and will smear blister beetles near the entrance to deter potential predators such as squirrels. About five to eight creamy eggs are laid, incubated by the female. Both parents feed the chicks.
DISTRIBUTION: Year-round range encompasses southern Canada and most of the USA, and the middle section of Mexico.
ON PEI:Year-round resident on Prince Edward Island, but rare. The  subspecies found on the island is named Sitta carolinensis carolinensis.
CONSERVATION: Widespread and common, slight increase in population, not at risk.
NOTES:This nuthatch is an acrobatic small bird that walks down on tree trunks and limbs, sometimes upside down. Places seeds/nuts in crevices when they’re too large to swallow whole, and hammers (hence the name) at them to break the shell. Hides extra seeds in bark crevices and other small spaces for future use.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Brown-breasted Nuthatch
REFERENCES: https://www.mba-aom.ca/jsp/toc.jsp (Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas)
http://fieldguide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=ABPAZ01020 (Montana Field Guide)
https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/white-breasted-nuthatch (Missouri Department of Conservation)
https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Sitta_carolinensis/ (University of Michigan)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-breasted_nuthatch
https://identify.whatbird.com/obj/362/_/White-breasted_Nuthatch.aspx

White-breasted Nuthatch- Souris area, PEI - Nov. 27, 2016 - © Marcy Robertson
White-breasted Nuthatch- Souris area, PEI – Nov. 27, 2016 – © Marcy Robertson
White-breasted Nuthatch - Kensington area, PEI - Oct. 9, 2017 - © Chris Rice
White-breasted Nuthatch – Kensington area, PEI – Oct. 9, 2017 – Chris Rice

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