White-breasted nuthatch

As I’ve mentioned before, I am trying to build my lifetime bird and wildlife sightings list here on my blog. This post about the nuthatch will be linked into the tab in the menu above. I could post my bird photos as “pages” instead of “posts” and I may yet decide to do that. But pages don’t have tags or categories which makes them less visible to searches. So for now, I’m going to put them in as posts and link them to the Bird page.

If you have a subject you’ve posted repeatedly about and would like to set up a page for it or a menu, I would gladly help you walk through it. Just let me know.

The white-breasted nuthatch is a little bird that darts around and I found difficult to photograph. It doesn’t stay in one place long.

The male nuthatch has a distinctive black stripe  or cap down its head that ends in something like a collar around its neck. The female’s head is the blue-gray color of the body, but has a black collar around the neck. I haven’t photographed a female yet.

The nuthatch has a strong woodpeckerlike bill.

Like it is doing in this photo, the nuthatch habitually goes down trees headfirst.

The white-breasted nuthatch is the more familiar of the species. A red-breasted nuthatch has a broad black line through the eye with a white band above it. It’s breast is a washed-out rust color. The brown-headed nuthatch is smaller than the White-breast and has a brown cap coming down to the eye.

The nuthatch with its quick motion is a fun bird to watch.

I took these photos 01-14-2012 in Southwest Ohio with an f/5.6 to blur the background and focus on the bird. The information about the nuthatch comes from A Field Guide to the Birds East of the Rockies by Roger Tory Peterson, 1980.


For more bird photos, see my bird page under the wildlife tab above.

24 thoughts on “White-breasted nuthatch”

  1. Don’t you love them, Christine? They are one of my favorites–and they have so much personality. Like so many small birds, they have to! The make up for their size with spunk (ie wrens)

  2. I LOVE the nuthatches! And I actually have a pretty funny story about them from when I took an ornithology course as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley: One of the other students in the class kept asking the professor (quite a well-known ornithologist) about the “new-thatch” birds she kept seeing. The professor said he couldn’t quite place what bird she was talking about (which of course surprised the rest of us students). He asked if she give some characteristics of said “new-thatch” birds. As she described the birds in detail, the professor’s eyes got wider and wider, finally stopping her and saying: “do you mean the NUT-hatch birds, do you think?” Of course the class went into gales of laughter. It was a sad moment in birding history for that poor student…. 🙂

    1. Awww. My heart goes out to clueless people; I so often am one myself. At least she was in the ball park with the name. I didn’t know what they were until recently.

      Was it a good class? Any helpful tips about bird-watching you’d like to pass on?

      1. It was a great class — two semesters of ornithology. Here’s the tip I can pass along: Do NOT take this class unless you want to memorize by sight over 50 bird species (many of them sparrows) — to the point that you can identify them in lab (stuffed) and name them by family, genus, and species on an exam…. that was the midterms: JUST the stuffed birds and a blank sheet of paper. If you want a good birdbook for learning to identify species by “field marks,” get a copy of Peterson’s Guide to Birds (it was one of our textbooks, and there are versions depending on the part of the country you live in). These guides also have a “How to Identify Birds” section at the beginning of the book. Really very helpful. However, hands down I use the Internet, specifically the Cornell Bird Site, to identify birds — once you know what to look for, just scroll through google images!

      2. Okay. I’m convinced. I probably could read the first pages of my Peterson’s Field Guide that was “Completely New!” in 1980 and is starting to fall apart. I will check out your web recommendation too. Thanks.

    1. We do. It’s been amazing here (a little scary at times with Arthur, but amazing.) Down the road when we move on, I’ll always remember these years for the nature around us in the plants, trees and wildlife. I love it.

  3. Thanks for offering help with pages and menus. I’ve wanted to do something for my memoir posts, but haven’t figured out how to do it yet. When I get ready, I may drop you an email. You are dear!

  4. I just saw my first White-breasted Nuthatch yesterday evening. Your photos are MUCH better than anything I got. Well done! He was such a lively little creature that I didn’t think I’d catch him at all.

    1. Trust me, it took me a while to get a shot too. The bird feeder helped. They seem to love peanuts. I had to wait for a good bright day to get a fast shutter speed.

  5. I saw a similar type bird here in Ireland, it was white breasted, I saw it at a distance and I took a photograph at a distance, which was’nt a great photo. It was beside a river. It was bigger than a robin but smaller than a blackbird.

    1. I wonder what it was. Our little nuthatches are smaller than robins. They also can be seen on trees head-down, which is a little unusual. Birds are fun to watch aren’t they?

      We were in Ireland once. I loved it and would like nothing better than to come back again.


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