Bird of the Week – Red-breasted Nuthatch


You usually hear the characteristic “tinhorn” yank yank call of the Red-breasted Nuthatch before you see the bird.

Red-breasted Nuthatch, Fairbanks

Red-breasted Nuthatch, Fairbanks

This species famously climbs head downward on tree trunks, distinguishing itself from the much drabber Brown Creeper, which climbs up.

Red-breasted Nuthatch, Juneau

Red-breasted Nuthatch, Juneau

The species is found across the United States and Canada, wherever there are spruce of fir trees, its preferred habitat. In Alaska, it’s common in southcentral and southeast, but uncommon in the interior and accidental further north and west.

Unlike chickadees, Red-breasted Nuthatches rarely use nest boxes or existing cavities. In the winter, they join mixed flocks to forage, and are enthusiastic visitors to birdfeeders.

For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

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One thought on “Bird of the Week – Red-breasted Nuthatch

  1. The habit of walking head downward on trees was the thing that helped me to identify the first Nuthatch I ever saw. So far I’ve not seen a Red-breasted Nuthatch, but hopefully one day I will.

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