The Nuthatch – a Nature Note

The Nuthatch, nature’s busy seed and nut eater!

If you are not an ornithologist, a twitcher or a birdwatcher, then read no further, as this probably won’t be of any interest to you.

However, if you are one of the above, then you will have seen in the papers recently that Nuthatches are being seen in abundance in gardens this autumn. The Daily Telegraph quotes experts from the British Trust for Ornithology (the BTO), who have said that they: “have seen an exciting increase in Nuthatch numbers, after a quarter of gardens in our recent survey reported seeing this seed-eating species.”

We have been fortunate in attracting one of these very ebullient, restless, noisy little birds to our bird-feeding station. Well, I call it a station, but there are only a couple of feeders and a bird-table, but a Nuthatch has been visiting them frequently throughout the day, for the past 3 weeks.

At first he used just the bird-table, allowing us to see his long claws (third image),  useful for climbing up and down tree trunks – deciduous woodland being his normal habitat. Then he discovered where the sunflower hearts were coming from – the feeder hanging above the table.

He then started using the chain (from which the bird-table hangs) to reach the feeder, but he now goes straight to the feeder, usually seeing off all the goldfinches – a charm of up to 17 at any one time – plus any blue-, great- or coal-tits that are usually feeding. I say ‘he’, but it could be a ‘she’ as male and female are very similar.

The Nuthatch not only eats at the station, but also caches some of the nuts for when weather conditions are less favourable. In our garden, that means he is hiding them amongst the branches and in crevices in the bark of the apple tree.

He is a very perky bird, making very quick movements, whether it’s in the tree, on the feeder or on the ground, making it difficult to take decent, sharp photos. The images shown here are the best of a very great many taken of this unusual visitor. Click on each one to enlarge.

Web feeder best

If you have a Nuthatch visiting you, or would like to see our visitor, please email us at