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Featured in Urban Wildlife – Nov 12, 2010
Featured in Songbirds of North America – July 16, 2010
Featured in Alphabet Soup – April 13th, 2009
Adorable White-breasted Nuthatch I managed to photograph in Assiniboine Park here in Winnipeg.
The White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) is a small songbird of the nuthatch family which breeds in old-growth woodland across much of temperate North America. It is a stocky bird, with a large head, short tail, powerful bill and strong feet. The upperparts are pale blue-gray, and the face and underparts are white. It has a black cap and a chestnut lower belly. The nine subspecies differ mainly in the color of the body plumage.
Like other nuthatches, the White-breasted Nuthatch forages for insects on trunks and branches, and is able to move head-first down trees. Unlike woodpeckers and creepers, nuthatches do not use their tails to brace themselves against tree-trunks but they grasp the tree using foot power alone.
Seeds form a substantial part of its winter diet, as do acorns and hickory nuts that were stored by the bird in the fall. The nest is in a hole in a tree, and the breeding pair may smear insects around the entrance as a deterrent to squirrels.
Adults and young may be killed by hawks, owls and snakes, and forest clearance may lead to local habitat loss, but this is a common species with no major conservation concerns over most of its range.