Nuthatch beaks have evolved perfectly for prying and picking. They are noticeably bent to one side to allow the bird to lift up bark pieces just far enough to find hiding insects or insect eggs. This ability allows nuthatches to get insects that other birds might easily miss or are unable to get.
The Red-breasted nuthatch is about the same size as a chickadee. The males have beautiful gray-blue backs, black heads with bright white lines above the eyes, and orangey-red breasts. The females have a more whitish breast and are paler in colour overall.
The daily food nuthatches eat consists of insects, spiders and insect eggs. In winter when food is harder to find, these curious birds will come to feeders especially in rural areas where evergreen forests are nearby. They enjoy suet, peanuts, sunflower and thistle seeds. Like chickadees, they are quite tame and easily trained to come to your hand.
These very short tubby-looking birds are a treat to have come to your feeder and are know as the upside-down birds. This is because they have a peculiar habit of climbing down a tree instead of up! They are polite coming to the feeder for one seed at a time before quickly taking their prize away to eat in privacy. The typical habitat in which you will find red-breasted nuthatches is in spruce, fir, and hemlock forests in the northern parts of Canada. Nova Scotia has much of the habitat that they need, so they are fairly common birds of the northern forest.