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Point au Sauble Nature Reserve; Brown County, WI
30 September 2000
Robert Howe and Andrew Paulios
Olympus CL 2500L digital camera

 

While the fall migration of North American songbirds is still underway, the White-breasted Nuthatch is busy preparing for winter within its home territory, which it occupies with a mate throughout the year. Nuthatches are familiar visitors to bird feeders in northeastern Wisconsin. Their habit of perching upside down on tree trunks and large limbs helps them search for insect pupae, spiders, and other food items that are inaccessible to other species. The long and somewhat upturned bill, evident in this photograph, helps nuthatches pry into crevices to remove insects from their hiding places. In addition to the food that they obtain from feeders, individuals often "cache" food such as acorns to insure a reliable year-round food supply. The smaller Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) occurs locally in conifer forests of our area and becomes more abundant during winter, when some individuals migrate from their northern homes. Two other species of nuthatches occur in North America, the Pygmy Nuthatch (Sitta pygmaea) of the west and the Brown-headed Nuthatch (Sitta pusilla) of the southeast.

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Last updated on April 15, 2014