Posted by: atowhee | March 10, 2012


Quick, nimble, limber, needle-beaked, tooting his own horn–the White-breasted Nuthatch.  A lover of oaks and eater of bark-dwelling invertebrates.  Here are some of Terry Doyle’s nuthatch portraits. 

Think you could arch your back like that and still walk the next day?

There are about two dozen nuthatch species in the Northern Hemisphere and North Africa. None are more than five inches long and all eat invertebrates they find on trees or occasionally on rocks. The two species found across Jackson County are the white-breasted (oaks) and red-breasted (conifers). They are highly territorial and usually in pairs, singles or family groups. East of the Cascades is the smaller, gregarious Pygmy Nuthatch. All are cavity nesters. Their eastern cousin, the Brown-headed Nuthatch, is among the natural tool users. It will use small bits of bark to pry bugs out of crevices on trees. The family name of nuthatches is Sitella.  “Nuthatch” is an old English world and hatch refers to the ability of some European species to “hatch” or hack open nuts.  At feeders the nyuthatchwill often carry off a single sunflower seed to a nearby tree and hack it into tiny pieces for eating.

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