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.
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.