White-breasted Nuthatch

1/800s at f8,0 ISO:800, Canon Mark III 1Ds w/800mm, 1.4x converter


The White-breasted Nuthatch is a small songbird of the nuthatch family which breeds in old-growth woodland across much of temperate North America. Like other nuthatches, the White-breasted Nuthatch forages for insects on trunks and branches, and is able to move head-first down trees. Seeds form a substantial part of its winter diet, as do acorns and hickory nuts that were stored by the bird in the fall. The nest is in a hole in a tree, and the breeding pair may smear insects around the entrance as a deterrent to squirrels. The clutch is five to nine eggs. The eggs are incubated by the female for 13 to 14 days prior to hatching, and the altricial chicks fledge in a further 18 to 26 days. Both adults feed the chicks in the nest and for about two weeks after fledging, and the male also feeds the female while she is incubating. Once independent, juveniles leave the adults' territory and either establish their own territory or become "floaters", unpaired birds without territories.
Rocky Mountain N.P., CO
 
03/29/2009