Sunday, March 27, 2011

Red-breasted Nuthatch & White-breasted Nuthatch, Nothern Illinois Winter Birds

Fire & Ice: A Valentines Day Sunrise
glinting off icicles hanging
off the eves of our front porch,
Rockford, IL; 2/14/10.

With Spring arriving and winter in its last gasps, I am in the midst of a series of posts saying goodbye to our winter visitors of the bird world. Many people who don't care for winter often miss out on the natural beauty that is created by what cold weather has to offer, such as the morning sunlight reflecting off the icicles of our front porch (Left), and of course, the many birds that migrate to our area for the winter - which call Northern Illinois their winter home.

You may refer to my post on 3/19/11 (with link below) to find a list of these birds:

Another bird is frequently seen in our area during the winter is the Red-breasted Nuthatch (below). This little bird, which only grows to 4 1/2 " in length spends its summers in Canada and Alaska, but migrates south to the warmer climates of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and actually much of the contiguous U.S.  It's very rare that it will be found as far south as Florida, the southern tips of Texas, California or Arizona.  However, these hardy little guys can be found year round in the mountainous regions of the Rockies and Appalachians as well as the northern sections of the Great Lakes and both the Northeast and Northwest States where the climate does not get too hot. They can also be found year round in the southern section of Alaska.

A Red-breasted Nuthatch feeding on a Suet cake in our backyard, Rockford, IL; 1/5/11.
The Red-breasted Nuthatch sports a grayish back, a black crown and eye stripe with a bold white eye brow, and of course its namesake - a reddish breast and under belly. 

A Red-breasted Nuthatch looking for the perfect seed, Rockford, IL; 2/3/11.
Closely related to the red-breasted Nuthatch is its cousin, the White-breasted Nuthatch (Below) which is bigger at 5.75" in length and also is a resident of  Northern Illinois year round. Both of these nuthatches are regular visitors to our backyard feeding stations.

A White-breasted Nuthatch, Rockford, IL;11/29/09.
White-breasted Nuthatches have a white head and breast with black crown and bluish/grayish back, tail and wings with fine white and black striping on the wings.  These tree-clingers are found year round throughout the U.S. and into the southern regions of Canada. There are pockets in Southern U.S. (Florida, Texas, the Gulf Coast states, parts of Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado, and strangely enough the southeast corner of Oregon and southwest corner of Idaho where they are not found.  Both the Red-breasted and White-breasted nuthatches are often found clinging to tree trunks upside down.

A White-breasted Nuthatch, Rock Cut State Park, Rockford, IL; 9/4/10.


~Val said...

I like the bottom photo the best - on the underside of the tree.

Chesney said...

It's amazing how many different birds your area has than ours...another one we don't have! I agree w/ Val...I love that bottom pic (and also the icicles)! :)