Thursday, November 15, 2007
Red-breasted Nuthatch, Irruptive Species
Another on-the-short-list-for-cutest-birds, species that could be called an "irruptive species" is the Red-breasted Nuthatch, photo above. This diminuitive nuthatch makes a very nasal, high-pitched "meep-meep" call (try saying "meep-meep" while holding your nose and speaking in a high voice), that we get a kick out of. Once you learn it, you'll know when it's in your yard.
Red-breasted Nuthatches breed in spruce and fir forests in the West and more northern regions. When winter food is scarce, they make "irruptions" out of their usual areas and can come down into all of the U.S., even as far south as Florida! This being a good year for "irruptive species," don't be surprised if it shows up at your sunflower feeder. We saw one at our feeders yesterday.
Photo © Lillian Stokes, 2007
P.S. If you don't want to try the holding your nose and making "meep-meep" noises thing, you can also hear what a Red-breasted Nuthatch sounds like by getting the Stokes Field Guide To Bird Songs CDs. You can even load them into your ipod, instructions here.