A winter prediction

Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)

Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last winter I did not spy one Red-breasted Nuthatch at my feeders!  They come down from up north in greater or lesser numbers depending on the food supply.  The pickings must have been pretty good in Wisconsin last winter.

But this season, even as my hummingbirds began migrating south toward Mexico and Central America, I saw the Red-breasted nuthatches!  They’re plentiful around my bird baths, seed and suet feeders.

Last Sunday I had one  come within about two feet of me as I held out an offering of nut morsels.  And a handsome White-breasted Nuthatch made himself comfortable just lounging on the hopper feeder one afternoon.

white-breasted nuthatch

white-breasted nuthatch (Photo credit: qmnonic)

I predict that this will be an irruptive year for the nuthatches.  I predict I will easily “land” them on my hand by offering nuts.  No self-respecting nuthatch can overcome the temptation to swoop down and grab a nut, even from a human hand, right?  I mean, that’s why they are called “nuthatches” after all.

I’m going to fly out on a limb here to predict I’ll see Pine Siskins (related to the American Goldfinch) in larger than usual numbers around my thistle feeder, too.  These little seed eaters also come down from up north and I’m betting the appearance of nuthatches this early in the season means seeds are a commodity expected to be in short supply when the snow begins to fly in the north woods.

Stay tuned!

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5 Responses to A winter prediction

  1. Pingback: See? I told you so. | How To Spy On Birds

  2. Sid Dunnebacke says:

    Nuthatches are among my favorites, although we only typically see the white-breasted brand. And I’ve yet to see a pine siskin, even after all my years of at least trying to pay attention to my avian friends. Enjoy your visitors – I’ll be watching out for a similarly irruptive season here!

  3. Deb Platt says:

    I love red-breasted nuthatches. I caught sight of the first one visiting my bird feeders this week, and since then they have made many return visits. The most I’ve seen at one time is three.

    So when you try to feed them from your hand. what kind of nut do you offer? And do you offer a whole nut, or chopped nuts?

    • I buy nuts at the bird supply store. They are generally shelled peanut pieces. Sometimes they have some mixed nut pieces. I fill nut feeders with them. You have to remove the nut feeders while you are out of doors conditioning the birds to hand feed, else they’ll outsmart you and go to the feeder! Chickadees and Nuthatches have landed on my hand before. The Downey Woodpeckers came close, but never did make it.

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