Hatchin’

To be absolutely honest with you, I could follow the sounds of nuthatches all day long, from tree to tree. You won’t always see them as they scurry about pines and hardwoods searching nooks and crannies, but they pack a lot of voice in their small bodies. What they’re looking for in the crevices of bark and cones: larvae, spiders, nuts, seeds. The “hatching” part of their name comes from their tendency to take larger foodstuffs and chisel them open or into smaller pieces by wedging them into the bark and whacking away with their bills.This is an irruption year for Red-breasted Nuthatches (Sitta canadensis), meaning they should be around all winter. Here’s what they sound like.The White-breasted (Sitta carolinensis) pictured here was patrolling the trunk of a large tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica), which was also alight with warblers. This is one of those species that will join in mixed flocks, especially in winter. Here’s what they sound like.The Red-breasted is smaller than the White-breasted. This one is almost lost amid the walnuts. This one flew into a cherry tree I was standing under. It was no more than a foot from my face for a few seconds.They’re even smaller up close.

Both the Red and the White are found in most of the U.S. Two other species grace narrower ranges. The Pygmy Nuthatch is found in the coniferous forests of the west. The Brown-headed Nuthatch is found in the piney woods of the southeastern coastal plain, from the Delmarva peninsula south.

4 Responses to “Hatchin’”


  1. 1 Paul Lamb October 18, 2018 at 5:11 am

    Nuthatches are common in my Ozark forest, at least around the feeder when I put black sunflower seed into it.

  2. 3 Susan October 18, 2018 at 10:13 am

    So grateful, thanks to your blog, to see the wonders of nature, like this nuthatch, that I would never see on my own.


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