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Living with Birds 21 Facts on Nuthatch Tweetapedia

21 Facts

Nuthatch

  1. The name nuthatch is derived from nut hacker, reflecting the bird's method of opening up nuts by jamming them into a crevice then hammering at them.
  2. Old country names include mud dabbler and mud stopper, both of which note the bird's curious habit of plastering mud around the entrance hole to its nest.
  3. Unlike the treecreeper, which only moves up the trunk of a tree, nuthatches will move both up and down.
  4. Once a bird restricted largely to south-eastern England, the 20th century witnessed a spread to the north, with breeding in Scotland first confirmed in 1989.
  5. Studies have shown that large gardens with oak trees provide the optimum habitat for this species.
  6. One of the reasons for the expansion seems to be the nuthatch's increasing use of bird feeders and bird tables.
  7. As anyone who has nuthatches visiting their feeders will know, they are bold and aggressive, able to stand their ground when larger birds such as starlings attempt to intimidate them.
  8. They will take food from the bird table to store elsewhere: this can lead to sunflowers sprouting in expected places.
  9. Pairs are strongly territorial throughout the year. The fact that food is stored within the territory strengthens the need to defend it.
  10. Though they will readily adopt nest boxes, they cannot resist plastering mud around the entrance hole, even if the latter is already the right size.
  11. The most favoured natural site for a nuthatch is the old nest hole of a great spotted woodpecker.
  12. Nuthatches are one of the nosiest woodland birds in the early spring, but are relatively silent when breeding.
  13. There are 24 different species of nuthatches in the world: our bird has much the widest distribution, as it breeds continually from Portugal to Korea and Japan.
  14. The nuthatch has never been recorded in Ireland.
  15. Most nuthatches are highly sedentary, seldom moving far from where they hatched.
  16. The average distance travelled by a ringed adult nuthatch is less than kilometre.
  17. No British-ringed individuals have ever been recovered abroad, while similarly no birds ringed on the Continent have been found here.
  18. Individuals breeding in Sweden and Norway have distinctive white underparts, unlike the peachy buff of our birds.
  19. Remarkably, a red-breasted nuthatch from North America spent nearly seven months at Holkham in Norfolk from October 1989 to May 1990.
  20. Perhaps surprisingly, the nuthatch has received little in the way of study in Britain, and most of our knowledge comes from work carried out in Sweden and Belgium.
  21. Numbers are known to fluctuate quite widely from year to year, probably reflecting the availability of seed during the winter.
21 Facts On Nuthatch I1
21 Facts On Nuthatch I2