Cheery Winter Wonders

White-breasted Nuthatches are a familiar site at our feeders in the winter. They are cheeky birds that make a little nasal nyuk-nyuk- nyuk noise that can lead you right to them.

They creep along the tree trunks going sideways and upside down, probing into bark furrows with their straight, pointed bill.

The common name for these resident birds, Nuthatch, comes from their behavior of jamming large seeds or nuts into tree bark and then whacking them with their sharp bill to “hatch” the seed out from the inside.

White-breasted Nuthatches are typically found in deciduous woods. Their cousin, the Red-breasted Nuthatch, prefers conifer stands.

Ever wonder how Nuthatches and other resident birds survive our cold Midwestern winters? They are extremely well adapted!

  • Their feathers are amazing insulators
  • Even exposed areas like their feet have an intricate network of blood vessels to keep them from freezing
  • Most birds maintain an average body temperature of 105 degrees F., which helps them to function on even the most frigid nights
  • Some birds, like Nuthatches, prefer communal roosting to share body heat

The next time you see or hear one of these amazing little neighbors, take some time to watch and listen. You’ll be amazed that something so small can survive and even thrive in this cold winter world!