Saturday, 17 December 2016

Bird of the week - Nuthatch

This handsome bird seems to live its life upside down - the pose above is quite characteristic.

The nuthatch spends most of its time on the trees head down

 but does occasionally turn "the right way up".

Nuthatch numbers have been increasing and the population has been spreading north.  This is the BTO graph for the whole of the UK.

are birds of broadleaf woodland and seem to prefer western parts of England & Wales, probably because that's where most of the trees are.  They have recently crossed the border into Scotland but have not reached Ireland.

The nuthatch is a relatively common garden bird in England.  This is the BTO Garden Birdwatch graph for England

and for Scotland.

These two maps from the Northumbria Bird Atlas, produced by the Northumberland and Tyneside Bird Club, confirm that nuthatches are thriving locally.  The first shows the breeding distribution of nuthatches and the second shows the population change between the 1988-92 atlas and the 2007-11 atlas.

The nuthatch is Sitta europea, meaning European nuthatch.  In French it is Sittelle torchepot and in German Kleiber.

Thomas Bewick engraved the nuthatch for A History of British Birds (1797).

He wrote

The nuthatch has a wonderful warbling piping call and a similar song.  Listen to Bill Oddie's BBC Radio 4 Tweet of the Day on nuthatch here.

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