My favorite bird to watch, when in the winter only the hardiest stay behind, is the little nuthatch. Tiny and fat, unlike the others, he scurries down the tree headfirst. The name nuthatch comes from his resourceful way of cracking open seeds. He wedges the seed into a crag of bark and pries it open with his beak, in essence, creating a mini hatch from the hull, a sweet serving dish for the little nuthatch.


To a Nuthatch

by Edith Thomas (1854–1925)

Shrewd little haunter of the woods all gray,

Whom I meet on my walk of a winter day,

You’re busy inspecting each cranny and hole

In the ragged bark of yon hickory bole;

You intent on your task, and I on the law

Of your wonderful head and gymnastic claw!