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Pygmy Nuthatch

Sitta pygmaea

Description:

he Pygmy Nuthatch (Sitta pygmaea) is a tiny songbird, about 10 cm (4 inches) long and about 10 grams in weight. It ranges from southern British Columbia south through various discontinuous parts of the western U.S. (northwest U.S., Sierra Nevada range, southern Rockies, etc.), to central Mexico. It is usually found in pines (especially Ponderosa Pines), Douglas-firs, and other conifers. Pygmy Nuthatches clamber acrobatically in the foliage of these trees, feeding on insects and seeds; less often they creep along limbs or the trunk like bigger nuthatches. Pygmy Nuthatches nest in cavities in dead stubs of conifers, lining the bottom of the cavity with pine-cone scales, plant down, and other soft plant and animal materials. They may fill cracks or crevices around the entrance with fur; the function of this behavior is unknown. The female lays 4–9 eggs, which are white with fine reddish-brown spotting. She does most of the incubation, which lasts about 16 days. The young leave the nest about 22 days after hatching. This species is highly gregarious. A nesting pair may have other birds as helpers. Outside the breeding season, this bird wanders in noisy flocks. It also roosts communally; over 100 birds have been seen huddled in a single tree cavity. All plumages are similar, with a warm gray cap, blue-gray upper-parts, and whitish underparts. The only feature not seen in the photograph is a whitish spot on the nape, particularly in worn plumage (summer). Vocalizations are highly varied chirps, peeps, and chattering.

Habitat:

attracted to suet feeder in area with large conifers

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DonnaPomeroy
Spotted by
DonnaPomeroy

San Mateo, California, USA

Spotted on Oct 6, 2013
Submitted on Oct 8, 2013

Reference

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