HP November Bird Report

The nuthatch — the bird that is more “upside down than right side up!”

Of the three species of nuthatches that breed in BC, only the Red-breasted Nuthatch is common here on the coast. Listen for the repeated “Yank Yank Yank Yank …” of this species echoing through the treed habitats anywhere on the golf course — a very loud sound from a small bird. And watch for it as it searches for seeds, nuts and insects while hanging upside down from a branch, or walking down a tree trunk while hanging on by the sharp claw of the only one of its 4 toes that faces backwards. Today’s photos show a nuthatch searching between the scales of a Douglas fir cone, then coming out with the prize…a fir seed. 

And the nuthatch name?:  “nut” from the Anglo-Saxon word “hnutu”, and “hatch” from the word “hack”, which describes the bird’s habit of hacking away at a nut or seed to break or soften it. This bird will soon hack at the fir seed to remove the fibrous wing and, then, “down the hatch” so to speak.  The ability to hack with the sharp beak also allows nuthatches, on occasion, to excavate their own nest (woodpecker like) in a rotting tree. Most will then smear sticky pitch around the entrance to the nest in order to dissuade invaders.

The Nuthatch

Total Species Identified:  22

Total Birds Identified: 147

New Species Added: Nil  (Total remains at 93)

A passing flight of 6 birds thought possibly to be Double-crested Cormorants passed over the course early in the morning, but were not confirmed as to species; and a single swan was recently on the Pacific 8 pond; but again, the species was not confirmed and there are 3 species of swan possible here.  Ring-necked Ducks and American Wigeons are now back in numbers on the water hazards.

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