Species: Sitta canadensis
two species of the Nuthatch family, Sittidae, found in
Western New York, the Red-breasted Nuthatch and the
White-breasted Nuthatch, the Red-breasted is
distinguished from the White-breasted by its smaller
size, black crown and eye line with a white supercilium,
and red under parts. Although the White-breasted also
has some rusty markings underneath it, the red is much
more apparent in the Red-breasted.
The Red-breasted Nuthatch is found year round in
coniferous forests from the Pacific Coast of British
Columbia to the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia, extending
southward into the mountains of the American Southwest
and the southern Appalachians in the East.
Insects and spiders are the main foods in the summer.
During winter, Red-breasted Nuthatches eat many insects
that they pry from food caches in bark crevices, but
they also eat many seeds.
The Red-breasted Nuthatch
forges for food by probing crevices in tree bark. It climbs down tree trunks
headfirst looking for food and will store food for later use under bark, in
holes, and in ground.
This nuthatch builds its nests in cavities in trees and branches. The nest
cavities filled with grasses, bark strips, and pine needles and lined with
fur, feathers, fine grass, and shredded bark. Both the male and female
members of the pair create the nest hole, and the female builds the nest
inside. The female incubates the 5-6 laid eggs for 12 days. Both sexes tend
to the altricial young which means they are immobile, helpless and blind.
The young are able to leave the nest 12 days after hatching.
Where to see them in WNY
Red-breasted Nuthatches are found in mature and diverse
stands of coniferous forests, especially spruce, fir,
larch, and cedar. They can also inhabit suburban habitat
with sufficient conifers. Tifft Nature Preserve and the
Swallow Hallow Trail at Iroquois during the winter
months are good places to see the Red-breasted Nuthatch.