Warmer weather and a Red-breasted Nuthatch


Yay! The two week super chill has left the city! I celebrated by going for a walk through the forest in a balmy -6 ℃.


Though I visit the north end of Mill Creek Ravine Park regularly and often hear nuthatches (Red-breasted or White-breasted… I can’t always differentiate their calls), I don’t usually get a good look at them and I rarely get good photo opportunities. So I was quite jazzed when this little bird let me stand nearby while he excavated a hole.


Red-breasted Nuthatches excavate holes in soft, dead wood for roosting in winter and as nests during the breeding season. It seems too early in the year to build a nest so perhaps this nuthatch needed a new roosting spot. Red-breasted Nuthatches roost in pairs. Black-capped chickadees excavate similar roosting holes, but these are usually used by only one chickadee (https://www.aiwc.ca/2700-2/).


  1. Great photos and information! The feathers on the nuthatch’s chest look so soft.
    Interesting comment on the referenced AIWC website about the possible decline in nuthatch observations over the past two years in Calgary. Have you noticed a similar change in Edmonton?

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    • Thanks, Esther :-). I’ve only been in Edmonton for two years so I haven’t noticed a change in bird abundances in my neighbourhood over many years. I haven’t noticed a difference between this winter and last winter. Also, I don’t have bird feeders, so I’m not aware of bird abundances at feeders, which can be quite different from bird abundances in forested urban areas. Winter severity and the abundance of non-human food sources vary from year to year so that may affect the number of nuthatches at feeders.


    • Thanks, Tanja. πŸ™‚ I’m happy to hear that you’ve heard their music too. I first heard them when I moved to Calgary a few years ago and I would often stop at big spruces where they were foraging to hear them “yank” away.

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