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Recent Sighting:

Red-breasted Nuthatch Sitta canadensis

Order: Passeriformes — Family: Sittidae

Identification

This is the only American nuthatch with a black-and-white striped head pattern. The male is blue-gray above, rusty below, has a black crown, white face, a black line through the eye and a white eyebrow. The female and juvenile have duller underparts and may show dark gray crowns.

Voice

The call of the Red-breasted Nuthatch is a tinny sounding, ‘ank-ank’, more nasal and higher-pitched than the call of the White-breasted Nuthatch.

Length

4.5in

Behaviour

Sharing with other nuthatches the trait of walking down the trunks and limbs of trees, the Red-breasted Nuthatch also has some peculiar habits all its own. A pair will often excavate 3 or 4 cavities before deciding one suits them well enough to nest in.

Migration

Spring movement is from late March to early May, fall's is mostly in October and November. In years when cone crops are poor in the north, large numbers move to the south, but in good cone years, most stay on their breeding grounds.

Habitat

It inhabits both coniferous and mixed forests, but shows a definite preference for coniferous trees.

Food

Insects, spiders and seeds, especially conifer seeds, also eats suet at feeders.

Population trends

Is expanding its range southward in the eastern United States. The population is stable and may be growing.

Where in US

It is a year-round resident from Alaska and Newfoundland, south to Arizona and New Mexico in the west, and to the northeastern United States and Appalachians in the east. In the winter, some birds withdraw from the year-round range and spread out through the remainder of the United States. The number of birds that do this is highly variable from year to year and is dictated by the season's cone crop.

Nests

Nests in a natural cavity in a coniferous or deciduous tree, excavates its own, uses an old woodpecker hole, or at times nests in bird-houses. The nest is usually 10-15 feet up, but may be as high as 40 feet. The nest itself is a cup of rootlets, grasses, hair and fur.

Eggs

Usually 5-6 eggs, sometimes 4 or 7, white to pinkish white, speckled with reddish-brown. Single-brooded.

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