Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Red-breasted Nuthatch

You can be entertained by a bird, if you have a mind to.

Weighing in at one quarter-ounce, this bundle of energy is the Red-breasted Nuthatch…a bird constantly in motion. He’s searching for something to eat and he prefers the insect life hiding in the bark crevices.

Searching head-up or head-down and round and round, gravity seems to have no influence on the Red-breasted Nuthatch.  He is actually walking, but at such an energetic pace he seems to defy gravity as he hops down the tree trunk.  An over-sized backwards-facing claw anchors him as he maneuvers in a vertical world. The Red-breasted Nuthatch’s show is free and it runs continually if you care to watch.  

Few insects are safe from his close inspection.  Beetles, spiders, ants and earwigs are his food choices.   During the breeding season, he feeds his mate as she alone chisels out a nest cavity. Late in the year when insects are scarce, Red-breasted Nuthatches live on seeds and nuts.  If a nut is too tough to open he will wedge it into a crack and hack it open with his pointy bill…living up to his name.

If you’re tired of being entertained by television’s awesome athletes, dizzying dancing or political posturing…take a break. Watch your bird feeder for a while…it can help.