The Red-breasted Nuthatch’s diet changes depending on the season. In the summer, it eats mostly insects, occasionally even fly-catching, while in the winter, it switches to conifer seeds. At feeders it will take sunflower seeds, peanut butter, and suet. It often wedges food pieces in bark crevices in order to break them up with the bill (as opposed to holding the food in their feet, like the black-capped chickadee does).
The bird is regularly observed using a small chips of bark, small twigs, and pine needles held in its beak as tools to dig for insects. The nuthatch exhibits other curious behaviors such a cooperative groups where groups of 3-5 adults provide care at a single nest. Recent genetic assessments suggest some of the putatively non-breeding adults associated with these groups may actually breed with individuals in neighboring territories. This nuthatch also exhibits a wide range of other social behaviors that include social grooming and male-female duets similar to those observed for the Pygmy Nuthatch.
These birds are fun to watch and hang upside down with such ease! Great shots, HJ! 🙂
They are fun! So full of energy! Thank you, Donna. 🙂
Nice to see that you get both Nuthatches where you abide.
Yes, I have that pleasure! Thanks Jane. 🙂
It is always a joy to watch nuthatches. I really like your photo of the red-breasted nuthatch, HJ, and very interesting tool-behavior info about the brown-headed. Lovely post.
What I really admire of these two nuthatches is the amount of pep they demonstrate to do their routines. They are just wee birds but with energy like an atom. Thank you my friend. I always appreciate your visits and words. 🙂