Red-breasted Nuthatch Foraging In A Douglas Fir

/, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Stansbury Mountains, Tooele County, Utah/Red-breasted Nuthatch Foraging In A Douglas Fir

Red-breasted Nuthatch hanging upside down from a Douglas Fir cone, Stansbury Mountains, West Desert, Tooele County, UtahRed-breasted Nuthatch hanging upside down from a Douglas Fir cone – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 800, -1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

For a few seconds yesterday morning I was thrilled to have a Red-breasted Nuthatch foraging on a Douglas Fir cone in my viewfinder directly in front of me. The exposure was challenging because the nuthatch and the fir cone were in bright side light while the main part of the tree was in shadows.  The nuthatch spent a surprising amount of time of the brief moments I had it in my viewfinder hanging upside down.

Red-breasted Nuthatch feeding on Douglas Fir cones, Stansbury Mountains, West Desert, Tooele County, UtahRed-breasted Nuthatch feeding on Douglas Fir cones – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 800, -1.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I like how the tiny nuthatch stands out in the photos I took of it because of that dark background.

Several weeks ago I heard lots of Red-breasted Nuthatches in this area and I have gone back to this location several times but it wasn’t until yesterday that I finally had one of these small songbirds land close enough to me to photograph it.

On a side note, yesterday morning I also took some blurry photos of a lifer bird for me when a Golden-crowned Kinglet made an all too brief appearance in this same tree. I only count birds as lifers when I can take photos of them and as crappy as the photos are that I took yesterday I’m counting this lifer. I used to see both kinglet species in my yard back east during the winter and I was delighted to see the one I photographed yesterday. I wish I had been able to get photos of it that matched the quality of these Red-breasted Nuthatch photos.  Maybe another day.

Red-breasted Nuthatch hanging onto a Douglas Fir cone, Stansbury Mountains, West Desert, Tooele County, UtahRed-breasted Nuthatch hanging onto a Douglas Fir cone – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 800, -1.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I do wish this Red-breasted Nuthatch had hung around longer than it did because I haven’t had many opportunities to photograph this nuthatch species and I want more time with these little beauties.

Life is good.

Mia

Red-breasted Nuthatch facts and information:

Sitta canadensis

  • Red-breasted Nuthatches are compact, blue-gray birds with short tails, sharp bills, black caps with white eye stripes. As their name indicates their breasts are red colored and the breasts of females are a duller, lighter red than the males.
  • Red-breasted Nuthatches from the north appear to migrate while other populations are year round residents some years while in other years they can show irruptive movements. The irruptions appear to happen during years when food is scarce in their normal range.
  • Red-breasted Nuthatches are one of the smallest song birds.
  • Red-breasted Nuthatches prefer habitats with coniferous woods and mountains that contain pines, spruce, fir, hemlocks, aspens, poplars, oaks, hickorys, maples, birches and other deciduous trees.
  • Red-breasted Nuthatches eat insects, seeds, nuts and spiders.
  • Nuthatches are both primary and secondary cavity nesters. They lay 4 to 7 eggs which hatch in 12 days. The female incubates.
  • A group of nuthatches is called a “jar” of nuthatches.
  • Red-breasted Nuthatches live up to 7 years.

 

7 Comments

  1. Pepe Forte November 12, 2018 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    Absolutely stunning photos Mia! The detail and contrast you captured is terrific. The Nuthatch is such an interesting bird and, thanks to your narrative, I can truthfully say I now know a little bit about it. Great stuff. Thanks.

  2. April Olson November 10, 2018 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    The first photo is absolutely stunning!

  3. Elephants Child November 10, 2018 at 11:23 am - Reply

    What an acrobatic charmer.

  4. humming bird lover November 10, 2018 at 9:34 am - Reply

    Hi sweetie! Yes we get this Nuthatch here in Va. I have the wet lands from the water and marshes all around me here! I so love your photo’s and Info on every Bird! Love ‘s mom

  5. Liz Cormack November 10, 2018 at 8:13 am - Reply

    Love the first photo. We used to have quite a few Red-breasted Nuthatches in the park near Niagara Falls but we haven’t seen them for a few years now. Climate change?? They are such cheeky little birds.

  6. Anita Austin November 10, 2018 at 7:51 am - Reply

    Such an interesting little bird. I’m not familiar with it, but it is small relative to the pine cone of the Douglas Fir. The light is perfect for the details to the cone and the color of the feathers. The first picture is excellent. Upside down! You had a very special day with your pictures of the lifer and this playful beauty.

  7. LSClem November 10, 2018 at 6:57 am - Reply

    Love that first photo!

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