BT: Pygmy Nuthatch

BT: Pygmy Nuthatch


There is no way you could not like this bird.  Not only is it cute, but it’s call is simply fantastic (What do you think it sounds like? I think it resembles a squeaky dog toy)!

In the US, there are four different types of nuthatches, but this one is my favorite.


I have spent a lot of time in the field with these guys, primarily in ponderosa pine forests around 4,000 ft in elevation.  I had always wondered why I saw them in pairs, often times with several pairs hanging out together, flitting in and out of holes in most often dead trees.


Well come to find out, Pygmy Nuthatches are known to cluster together in cavities they live in with get this, up to 100 other nuthatches to stay warm!  I would die if I saw that many of these little guys together!  They use this tactic, along with hypothermia, to help them stay warm during the winter, and believe me, where I’ve seen them there is snow for up to half of the year up there!  Crazy!  They are also one of the few birds were others help them build they nests, form cavities, and raise young ones!  What a family!

In pine forests these birds are important because they are indicator species, which means their presence means a forest is healthy!  So if you see a bunch, you’re in a healthy pine forest…so keep it clean. :)


There is your bird species of the week.  Have you ever seen one, or it’s relatives the Red-breasted, White-breasted or Brown-headed Nuthatch?  What would you like to learn about next week?


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4 Responses to BT: Pygmy Nuthatch

  1. Maggie says:

    Pygmy nuthatches are adorable! We caught a good number at one of our banding stations (in the ponderosa pines) this fall and I always wanted to take them home with me. Little fluffballs of cuteness. :)

  2. Amy says:

    Such a cute little bird. How about finches next week?

  3. Irina says:

    beautiful birdies, they kind of look too round for their skinny legs :). Their nesting and rearing habits remind me quaker parakeets, are they any similar when it comes to the communal living?

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