Bird watching: red-breasted nuthatch, part II

Self-tutoring about birds: the tutor continues about the red-breasted nuthatch.

Continuing from yesterday’s post, I want to talk more about the red-breasted nuthatch’s voice.

The commanding, repeating tone it makes that’s rather like an alarm from a timer has been one call I’ve been hearing from the red-breasted nuthatch, yet there’ve been others. All these calls have been new to me and began this spring.

Two days ago, my son and I were outside when I heard these new calls rotating as if they were on a playlist. Eventually I realized they were coming from the same location. I turned to my son. “Hear that?” I asked. He listened a couple of minutes, then confirmed he did.

As we both listened I zeroed in on where the bird must be. “That’s all from one bird – it’s doing that just to confuse us,” I ventured.

“Really?” he replied. His disbelief was understandable: the different calls were so distinct from each other.

One of its calls sounds like a muffled machine gun. It’s a continuous trill. Next it has one that reminds me of a starling, more of a throaty cackle.

I only saw it make the pleasant-sounding alarm clock call; the rest I confirmed by research. When this bird’s around, it sings up a storm. As I say, this is the first year we’ve had a pair in the yard.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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