Monday 1 January 2024

Wow, A White Breasted Nuthatch

    Do you remember a couple of weeks ago when I was blogging about the Christmas Bird Count?  I saw and recorded the usual local winter birds and was wishing something more exotic would show up.  A couple of days ago, a more exotic bird did show up, but unfortunately, it was too late to make the bird count.  The unexpected bird I saw was a White Breasted Nuthatch, which I guess is not that unusual in most of North America, but certainly not very common around the Interior of British Columbia.

    Red Breasted Nuthatches are what normally comes to my bird feeder, but about 35 years ago, I was surprised to see a bird that looked like a nuthatch, but not a Red Breasted one.  I raced to my bird book and found that it was a White Breasted Nuthatch, and was thrilled when I saw that according to the Bird’s Range Map in my 1966 bird book, they didn’t live here.   I called Elsie, our local bird expert and she had was very surprised about my seeing one.

    I saw the White Breasted Nuthatch throughout that year, then never saw one again.  Elsie often asked, but I had to tell her it had disappeared.  So, after all these years, I was surprised to suddenly see one again.

    When I went onto the internet to look for the White Breasted Nuthatch’s Range map, I discovered that the bird has really expanded its range northward into Canada.  I was a bit disappointed that my sighting was not as rare as that first one was, but still it was exciting to see a White Breasted Nuthatch again.

     I do wonder how its expansion into new territory will impact the Red Breasted Nuthatches that have always lived here and and seem to operate in the same fashion.

Below are several range maps that show how its range has expanded over the years.  The red dot shows McBride.

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