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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

Nesting Nuthatch


Wandering through Highbury Park, King's Heath, I spotted a Nuthatch disappearing into a hole halfway up a half rotten tree. Sure enough, it has started building a nest there, dashing in and out with small leaves, moss, and grass etc to make it cosy. Typically, it has also been busy creating a neat mud wall around the outside of the entrance, to make it smaller and create a slope (handy for excrement to roll down!) The Nuthatch is a common sight in deciduous woods and parklands of England and Wales, though it is a rare sight in Scotland. It feeds on insects, seeds and nuts. Originally it was known as 'nut hack', because of its habit of wedging a nut in a crevice in a tree, then hacking at it with its strong, straight bill.

With its distinctive silhouette, the Nuthatch is easy to identify, thanks to its habit of rearing its head forwards, away from the trunk of a tree, in order to have a look around. The bandit-like eye-stripe is another dead give-away, in addition to the blue-grey upperparts and salmon pink underparts.

This agile bird can move up, along, and down trunks, unlike Treecreepers and Woodpeckers - and often nests in a hole made previously by a Woodpecker in a deciduous tree.

WILD CARD: Unlike Treecreepers and Woodpeckers, the Nuthatch can walk down a tree as well as up.

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