A couple of nuthatches returned to the garden this morning. Creeping up and down the branches and trunk of the willow tree, they found the peanut feeders in no time at all. They rarely come during spring and early summer, spending this time breeding in the nearby woods. It’s always a welcome sight when they reappear, and they’ll probably visit us each day now until late next winter.
It’s interesting to see their interaction with the other birds at the feeders. Great-spotted woodpeckers are kings, using their sword-like bills to repel all others at the peanuts. However apart from loosing out to the odd grey squirrel, jackdaws and jays, nuthatches do pretty well. Like the woodpeckers they use their dagger-like bills to easily deter any small bird that dare to approach. Larger birds aside, only blue tits seem to have the guts to land on the feeders when the nuthatches are around, but they’re immediately seen off. Other tit species also don’t stand a chance, and greenfinches, chaffinches and house sparrows lack the courage to even attempt a landing, preferring to hang about on the ground below with the robins and dunnocks, picking up the bits hacked out by the energetic nuthatches.