Monday, February 20, 2012

Brown-headed Nuthatch

For the past few weeks we have been having a pair of Brown-headed Nuthatches visiting our yard.  I first noticed them one afternoon when one of them came to the feeder and were taking some peanuts from a new feeder.  It seemed to be able to get some nuts out that the chickadee wouldn't.  My wife had also heard one calling in the yard while she was gardening.

Then last weekend I was walking through the wooded part of the yard and I heard some drumming from a nearby tree.  Thinking it was a woodpecker, Downy most likely, I searched up and down the trees hoping to find it.  It took several minutes to localize the sound but then I saw the movement.  It wasn't a woodpecker, but a nuthatch excavating a hole in a neighbor's tree.  I went back and got my camera and was able to get several pictures.  There were two nuthatches that were taking turns pecking away at the hole and spitting out the wood.  While one was excavating, the other would be on a nearby tree eating.  The hole was getting almost big enough for one of them to fit in. 

Nuthatch spitting out wood pulp.
Nuthatch reaching deep into the hole.

I've been watching for a little over a week now and I haven't been able to see any more work on the hole. Or should I say holes; there are actually two holes in the branch very close together.  Last week they seemed to be working on the upper hole but I can't see how they could get it very deep before running into the lower hole.  And why would they make two entrance so close together?

I hope they do nest back there and I am able to watch them through out the spring.  Nonetheless, they have a pleasant surprise to our yard list this winter.

And check out other bird posts on Tuesday Tweets.


  1. Very nice photos.

    Regards and best wishes

  2. nice photos, I was thinking of posting about the nuthatch this week but chose the bluejay instead

  3. Vey cool. We have white and red breasted nuthatch but I have never seen a brown headed nuthatch. Thanks for participating in this weeks Tuesday Tweets.