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Red-Breasted Nuthatch

Sitta canadensis

Once known as the Canada Nuthatch or Red-Bellied Nuthatch, the Red-Breasted Nuthatch can be found across North America’s sub-alpine conifer forests. In winter, these bird earn their “nuthatch” moniker, eating mainly seeds. When a seed is too large to consume, they will place it in a crevice and hammer on it with their bill to break it into manageable pieces. However, when nesting and raising their young, insect prey is their primary food source.

This bird was first described to Western Science by a French zoologist in 1760 from a specimen collected in Canada. The common name has changed over the years since, but the scientific name (Sitta Canadensis) has stuck. Given the many changes in taxonomic nomenclature seemingly in fashion over the years for family, genus and species classifications, this is a remarkable fact.

I enjoy hearing the calls of these birds, which are reminiscent of toy horns.

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