Red Breasted Nuthatches Check Out Our Crabapple Tree for Nesting near Toronto Ontario

All winter I have been trying to get a reasonable photo of a Red Breasted Nuthatch. There have been several quietly yonk-yonking their way around our neighbourhood. A few weeks ago, my family and I noticed that we would often find one or two either in our crabapple tree or on the tree beside it, especially in the early morning. We kept our eyes on the trees and our hands on the camera shutter button and waited.

Photo of Red Breasted Nuthatch Toronto ON on NaturalCrooksDotCom

The Benefit of Leaving Dead Branches on Your Trees

As some of you may remember, we left part of a dead main branch on our crabapple tree because a downy woodpecker had drilled a nesting cavity in it. Since then, the downy has moved out, and at least one family of chickadees has been raised in it. (There are actually three nest holes now in the same length of wood.) We have taken photos of one of the chickadee fledglings that we had to help back up into a tree for the night.

During the winter, chickadees and other cavity-nesting birds sometimes seek shelter in the old nest holes. We’ve found chickadees peeking out at us as the sun is coming up and we are trudging off to school. I’ve envied them their shelter out of the wind.

So despite the fact I’m sure our neighbours would prefer us to prune the tree, we’ve left the stump-like arm in place.

Photo of Red Breasted Nuthatch Crabapple on NaturalCrooksDotCom

This is probably the female, judging by the paler red and the greyer cap.

Red Breasted Nuthatch Checks Out New Homes in Neighbourhood

Two days ago, we first noticed a Red Breasted Nuthatch checking out the nest holes. It popped in and out a few times, noticed us, and took off.

Yesterday, my daughter and I watched from a good distance back as one bird popped in and out, bringing out small bits of wood. Another bird was extremely quietly calling (for a nuthatch) from the adjacent tree.)

Photo of Red Breasted Nuthatch Upside Down on NaturalCrooksDotCom

This is probably the male as the cap is black. If you can fly, you don’t worry about hanging upside down 10 feet up in the air!

And today, I finally got a photo of one of the Red Breasted Nuthatches with my D5100! It’s not in perfect focus, but it’s much closer than anything I’ve managed to date. I’ll try to take more photos but only if I can do so without spooking the birds. I’d far rather they nested, and successfully raised a family, than that I got a good photo. I’m not one of those people who ends up forcing parents to abandon a nest of chicks just to get a magazine-quality close-up.

So you’ll just have to take your glasses off so my photos look less fuzzy and enjoy knowing a small family of feisty Red Breasted Nuthatches may soon be hatched!

Photo of Red Breasted Nuthatch Flight on NaturalCrooksDotCom

This is how I usually see Nuthatches if I have a camera.Don’t ask me how it’s staying in the air! Sheer willpower, probably.

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4 thoughts on “Red Breasted Nuthatches Check Out Our Crabapple Tree for Nesting near Toronto Ontario

  1. We have a pair of red breasted nuthatches drilling a hole in our frame, three unit condo at the foot of the foothills on the edge of Boulder, Colo. They are remarkably unwary. One landed about 3 feet from me on a post about my height. The hole they are drilling is about 12 feet up, under the bathroom window of the unit above ours.. We hate that it is damaging our building, but don’t have the heart to stop it. They are adorable, both working diligently.

    • Hmmm. It is wonderful to get to watch them working but I’m not sure I’d be able to let them keep working if it was puncturing my home! Since they often make more than one nest hole before picking where to actually raise their chicks, you might want to stop them before they get too far.

      Whatever you decide, thank you for sharing your glimpse into their lives. It’s fascinating to see how unafraid your pair are!

  2. I am in downtown Toronto, mid town really, and we have what I guess is a pair of red breasted nuthatches visiting our feeders on the third floor balcony on Humewood Drive. They seem very bold and won’t move when I walk out there to re fill the various feeders. We love them and are delighted to have them as our guests.

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