White-breasted Nuthatch

Since we put in our feeder station I’ve set out to photograph the birds that visit our yard the way that I photographed the butterflies that visited last summer.  I wouldn’t call myself a birder… but it’s motivating to me to learn about the wildlife that visit our yard and then learn about how we can develop our yard through gardening and landscaping to benefit those species and attract more variety.  You have to know what’s there before you can know how to enhance the habitat.  And you can be sure I’ll be stalking those butterflies again this summer as well (working hard to increase the variety of host plants and nectar plants to try to draw greater numbers and an even more diverse range of species on that front as well).

So far we’ve not seen anything too unusual, but for us, previously oblivious to the birds around us… it’s eye opening.  And I have to love that my daughters are taking notice and learning as well.  Today they stopped on the way to the car as we were leaving for an evening activity and pointed out this bird we hadn’t seen before.  It was wandering upside down on the trunk of the birch tree and was surprisingly unafraid of us.  They stood and kept an eye on it while I ran back inside for my camera and then I was able to photograph it for a good 2 – 3 minutes before it wandered too high for me to see through the branches.  It started with a sunflower in it’s beak which it moved in and out of the birch bark.

On the website “All About Birds” their behavior is described this way:

“They get their common name from their habit of jamming large nuts and acorns into tree bark, then whacking them with their sharp bill to “hatch” out the seed from the inside.”

and

“White-breasted Nuthatches are agile birds that creep along trunks and large branches, probing into bark furrows with their straight, pointed bills. Like other nuthatches, they often turn sideways and upside down on vertical surfaces as they forage.”

And this behavior is exactly what we observed.

(and a super close crop just to show the sunflower seed it was working on…)

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