WHY ARE WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCHES SCARCE IN MOST BACKYARDS?

       If you are lucky enough to see white-breasted nuthatches in your yard, have you ever wondered why you rarely see more than one or two nuthatches at the same time?

       The reason for this is they are territorial.  As such, they vigorous defend their turf against other nuthatches.  In woodland (both hardwood and mixed pine/hardwood) areas, these territories typically range from 25 to 30 acres in size.  However, in areas broken up in a patchwork of small woodlots and other habitat types, a pair’s territory can easily measure 60 acres or so.

       If you happen to see more than two white-breasted nuthatches visiting your feeders, chances are your yard is located where the territories of two pairs of white-breasted intersect.  In addition, pairs will often make brief trips into the territories occupied by other pairs.  In years when their favorite food is scarce, they can show in a variety of locations.

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