WEEK-BY-WEEK BIRDS TO SEEK: WEEK 42 NUTHATCH & TREECREEPER

EVERY WEEK THIS YEAR WE WILL HAVE NEW SUGGESTIONS FOR A DIFFERENT GROUP OF BIRDS TO LOOK FOR TO HELP DEVELOP YOUR #MY200BIRDYEAR LIST

This week, it is Nuthatch and Treecreeper

This week we are looking at two perching birds which habitually creep up tree trunks roughly in the manner of a woodpecker. The Nuthatch also, uniquely, is equally happy going head first down tree trunks or branches.

Nuthatch

 Nutchatch

Nutchatch

 Nuthatch in typical upside-down mode

Nuthatch in typical upside-down mode

A little larger than a Great tit and a little smaller than a Starling, the Nuthatch is a handsome, chunky bird with what appears to be the front-end of a woodpecker, including a chisel-like bill. Nuthatches are powder blue above, whitish-buff to rufous below. The have black bills  and a thick black like from the bill ‘through’ the eyes and beyond, like a thin ‘bandit mask’. The feet are huge and the tail short and square and not used at all as a prop for climbing. They have a diverse range of calls, including the irregular, staccato ‘choi choi-choi choi’ call which has been likened to the pattern of someone typing. They nest in old woodpecker holes, with the entrance plastered with mud to narrow it.

Treecreeper

 Treecreeper

Treecreeper

 Treecreeper at the nest cavity

Treecreeper at the nest cavity

Famously compared to a creeping mouse, the delightful  little Treecreeper clings tightly to vertical trunks as it spirals round exploring the nooks and crannies for invertebrates, with its fine, downcurved bill. They are more or less cryptically brown and black above and white below. The supercilium is white and obvious. Unlike Nuthatches, but like woodpeckers, the tail feathers are pointed and stiffened to act as a brace to aid climbing up steep bark surfaces. They nest in cryptic crevices behind loose bark etc.

All photos from Alamy