- Bird Of The Month -
Scientific name: Sitta carolinensis
How to identify: White-breasted Nuthatches are gray-blue on the back, with a frosty white face and underparts. The black or gray cap and neck frame the face and make it look like this bird is wearing a hood. The lower belly and under the tail are often chestnut. The largest nuthatch, this is still a small bird with a large head and almost no neck. The tail is very short, and the long, narrow bill is straight or slightly upturned.
Habitat: Nuthatches are birds of mature woods and woodland edges. They're particularly associated with deciduous stands, including maple, hickory, basswood, and oak, though they can be found in some coniferous forests.
Where to find one: White-breasted Nuthatches are agile birds that creep along trunks and large branches, probing into bark furrows with their straight, pointed bills. Like other nuthatches, they often turn sideways and upside down on vertical surfaces as they forage. They don't lean against their tails the way woodpeckers do.
How to attract one to your yard: Nuthatches are common feeder birds. You can attract them by offering large nuts such as sunflower and peanuts, and by putting out suet.
Interesting fact: If you see a White-breasted Nuthatch making lots of quick trips to and from your feeder - too many for it to be eating them all - it may be storing the seeds for later in the winter, by wedging them into furrows in the bark of nearby trees.
For more information on the White-breasted Nuthatch, visit one of the three Moana Nursery store locations: 1100 W. Moana Ln. & 11301 S. Virginia St., Reno and 7644 Pyramid Hwy., Sparks.
Carmel Ruiz-Hilton is Manager of Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shops at Moana Nursery in Reno/Sparks
Go to the WBU site for more Bird of the Month newsletters & articles.