This season two little Red-breasted Nuthatches, Sitta canadensis, have decided to spend some of their time close to my cabin. I’m delighted in part because this species doesn’t often show up here. The last time I saw one was the wonderful winter of 2009 – 2010. This is the one I saw back then, in the picture above, with the snow and pinecones.
Since then I have learned that many people have trouble telling the difference between this fun, tiny bird and the similar looking Chickadee.
In the photo above, at the birdbath that is close to my kitchen window, you’ll see one of the Red-breasted Nuthatches showing off his long pointed bill, his striking eye stripe, and his buff colored breast. About that buff colored breast, I wonder who comes up with the names of birds? Red-breasted?
In this picture of a Chickadee, compare his tiny round shape, a shape that I like to compare to a ping-pong ball, his very tiny bill, his black throat and lack of an eye stripe, with the photograph of the Red-breasted Nuthatch. Similar, but note those differences.
Now, in your next encounter with a tiny black and white Red-breasted Nuthatch, or Chickadee, if the encounter is not fleeting, perhaps you’ll be able to tell which you are seeing. The little one, above, trying to speed away with no identification is a Chickadee.