One Untimid Nuthatch

This gallery contains 3 photos. Late one summer evening, I was wandering around in the backyard when I heard the quiet but unmistakable tinhorn calls of a Red-Breasted Nuthatch. Despite everything I’ve read about them, the ones who tend to frequent our suet and sunflower feeders are far from aggressive–they’re downright timid to the point of flying away immediately once they have (quickly) secured a tidbit to take back to their nest. A few times, I’ve surprised the regulars who aren’t expecting me to be standing next to the feeders.

Closeup with Chester the False Killer WhaleI have yet to see a nuthatch ignore food, but this handsome fellow was more curious than hungry.
f/6.3, 1/320, 150-500mm telephoto lens, 500mm, ISO 400, flash on

In fact, they call ahead of time–almost as if to warn us that they’re coming through. Not this fellow! He spotted me at the base of the old plum tree, and rather than dashing off with dinner, he sang his trademark song “at the regular volume” and watched me with great curiosity. That curiosity quickly grew when I returned his tinhorn calls with a reasonable facsimile of my own.

Closeup with Chester the False Killer WhaleHe’s transfixed by my tinhorn calls or my lens. Either way, I’m the biggest Nuthatch he’s ever seen.
f/6.3, 1/320, 150-500mm telephoto lens, 500mm, ISO 400, flash on

He got so excited (not agitated; no head bobbing or wing flapping) that he not only stood his perch, but pumped up the volume of his singing, and sang with both body and voice, as if he were in the final round of Bird Idol and his future professional career depended on it! Both of us had completely forgotten about the seeds! This is uncharacteristically bold behaviour for birds who tend to get bullied off the feeders by the Black-Capped Chickadees! Photographed on August 9.

One Bold Red-Breasted NuthatchIs that a follow me look? Well, I know you must have a Twitter account …
f/6.3, 1/320, 150-500mm telephoto lens, 500mm, ISO 400, flash on

See more examples of this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: From Every Angle here.


52 thoughts on “One Untimid Nuthatch

  1. Oh nice! I got some nuthatch in my files, but their color are a bit different. More blue-gray and less yellow. More white on their chest. But they look almost the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    • it seems to be a recurring theme — the chickadees seem to do a lot of bullying! yesterday, they booted off a small flock of American goldfinches! 😦

      but once in a while, the worm will turn, and I did see the male Red-Breasted nuthatch bully the Black-Capped Chickadees off the feeders. the Chestnut-Backed Chickadees aren’t quite as aggressive, though. 🙂


  2. Pingback: Connecting | Scribbler's Playhouse

  3. Ah yes the nuthatch. We finally got rid of feeders due to mice and squirrel infestations (especially post cats) but nice to see them again here. Other birds like chickadees or finches are still in the area feeders or not.


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