Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sitting pretty

Summer has passed and it's time to get back to business. That means being more faithful about my blogging. When the weather is nice, I want to be anywhere but the computer, but it's good to return and share some captures from my wanderings.

I've been wanting to catch this bird for some time.


The red-breasted nuthatch makes a good noise for a little bird. If you hear a nasally ank, ank, ank in the forest you can be sure there's a small bird spiralling down a tree trunk, head first, somewhere nearby.

That sharp beak pries under bark for insects to eat and also gets used to bang a hole into the tree to live in, the same as a woodpecker.

Nuthatches eat seeds too and will come to feeders, but don't usually perch for long.

Both males and females have an unexplained habit of carrying tree sap to the nest and smearing it around the entrance. Like I said, it's unexplained.

Females lay five to six eggs and the chicks emerge after only 12 days of incubation. They don't stay long in the crowded nest before they fly out on their own. Their main predators are hawks and this bird lives on a property in the North Okanagan where a red-tailed hawk also nests and a smaller unidentified hawk was seen darting about the ponderosa pine and Douglas fir trees.

12 comments:

unkmal said...

i seem to recall reading that the sap around the opening served as a deterrent/trap for ants,earwigs, etcetera, nuisances in the nest, tasty morsels on the doorstep, 'ank ank ank honey look what they delivered ank!' ANKANKANK

welcome back, nice changeup to osps, unkmal.

Susan said...

I enjoy your postings, Heather, and look forward to more of them. Your photographs are wonderful, too. Carry on!

Springman said...

Wonderful capture Heather and Thanks for a mystery to ponder. I'm going to guess that the sap is spread around the opening so the fledglings don't slip out in the rain!

Gary said...

Great photo and good essay. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Becky and Gary said...

What a great little bird, and I'm still waiting for one to show up in my yard.
B.

EmptyNester said...

What a pretty bird! Very nice capture!

mick said...

Great photo of the little bird and very interesting post.

theconstantwalker said...

A beautiful bird.I have had our Nuthatches in my garden this year for the first time. Lovely image.

Dixxe said...

Im always hoping when I see a nuthatch it will be the redbreast...Here we have the brown headed commonly and nearby I can find the white breasted..
Great Photo!

phylliso said...

We have alot of them coming to the feeder now,as well as the white breasted nuthatches.Every nook & cranny of our forest must be piled full of the suet they`ve been gathering,beautiful little birds,they will almost land on me,phylliso

Heather Reid said...

Wow, thanks everyone for your kind words and interest. I'm keen to kick off 2011 with a little birding, so stand by for more.

dreamfalcon said...

Beautiful bird and nice photo!