Feels like: 19°F
Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013
Who's Who at Your Birdfeeder?Posted Sunday, January 6, 2013, at 7:48 AM
Red-Breasted Nuthatch (picture from NationalGeographic.com)
Of course, I am seeing a good number of English sparrows (non-native) but I also get to see Chipping Sparrows and Song Sparrows. The usual culprits are here as well, including American Cardinals, House Finches, Chickadees and Titmice.
Regular visitors are Downy Woodpeckers and - squirrels!
Even better are the American Goldfinches, Purple Finches and White-Breasted Nuthatches. I especially like Nuthatches because they are the only songbird in North American that can go down a tree head-first. And just a couple of days ago I watched an elusive Catbird at my feeder.
But God gave me a Christmas present this year that I never expected to see - several Red-Breasted Nuthatches. These birds are not supposed to be here - any time. Of course, I had to know what is going on with these unusual birds. They are smaller than their white-breasted cousins. Their breast is not even red - it is a golden color.
After doing some research, I found these birds are "irrupting". (And I didn't miss-spell it!) This is a process that happens among birds and animals when normal food sources are gone. I think this time we can blame it on the drought of 2012. The birds have sought a new habitat so that their species can continue. They will likely continue to live in their new area even when Mother Nature gets balanced again.
So, give a shout out. Who is visiting your feeder?
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Vicky Carder is a Shelbyville native. In 1991 she founded Walden's Puddle Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Nashville. There she served as Executive Director for more than 12 years. The Center is the largest wildlife hospital in Middle Tennessee. She has published in wildlife national and international journals. Now she wants to share her knowledge of native wildlife and some of the experiences she had while working with wildlife.