Red Breasted Nuthatch
Description of the Red Breasted Nuthatch:
The red-breasted nuthatch measures about 10 to 15 centimetres in length, with a black cap, black eye line, and white eyebrow, a stocky, small bird, with a short tail, blue-grey back with rusty breast. The female and young have duller head markings and lighter breasts.
Voice of the Red Breasted Nuthatch:
Males can be heard singing their courtship song in early morning, also from the top of trees.
Habitat of the Red Breasted Nuthatch:
While a permanent resident in its breeding range, the red-breasted nuthatch sometimes migrates south during periods of a short food supply of conifer seeds.
Mating Habits of the Red Breasted Nuthatch :
Considered monogamous, red-breasted nuthatches carry out their courtship displays at the top of trees.
Nesting Habits of the Red Breasted Nuthatch:
Beginning in late April early May, the nuthatch pair begins excavating a cavity nest in a dead tree, the nest site can be anywhere from 1 to 30 meters above ground, although 5 meters above ground is average. Inside the cavity, bark strips, grass and plant fibres are placed at the bottom for nesting materials.
An interesting note about the red-breasted nuthatch is their habit of placing droplets of resin, or pitch, from balsam fir, or pine trees to smear around the entrance hole of the nesting site. This practice continues throughout the nesting phase, resulting in an area sometimes 5 centimetres or more smeared with the sticky substance. The reason for doing this is unknown; however speculation is that the practice keeps ants and small mammals from entering the nest. The nuthatches themselves are able to fly straight into the hole without being affected by the pitch.
The female lays 4 to 7 eggs that are white with fine brown spots. Incubation lasts 12 days; sources differ as to whether the female or both sexes incubate and the young leave the nest 18 to 21 days after hatching.
Feeding Habits of the Red Breasted Nuthatch:
The red-breasted nuthatches’ diet consists of conifer seeds and insects; interestingly you’ll often see this bird upside down on the side of a tree trunk, gleaning insects from bark crevices.