Nuthatch, why not in certain areas?

Hi all,

Like many during these difficult times, I turned to nature during the first national lockdown, joining the RSPB in the process.

I am blessed to work on the fringe of a small wood and erected a bird feeder in the springtime, finding a few minutes of relaxation and solice each day simply observing the birds enjoying the offerings I put out.

I watched the nesting Tits fledge during the first few weeks and have since counted well over 30 different species in the vicinity of the feeder in just these few short months.

One species that I am yet to have the pleasure to observe however, is the Nuthatch.

Upon reading the RSPB Nuthatch page, it seems there are a few regions that do not feature them. Sadly I happen to reside in one such area. Given the abundance of other birds I have been visited by, including a family of 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, I shouldn't feel too hard done by!

Can anyone shed any light on why there are no Nuthatches in these regions highlighted below, please? Presumably it's down to habitat? Lack of a certain tree-type?

Thanks for any information.

  • Possibly like you say it could be the habitat, they need trees to survive for food this was taken today up near Silverdale.


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  • Jim,
    That's a stunning picture!
  • It is something that I have wondered about as we don't have them in Jersey. I have seen one once here and that was in the late 1980's during the winter and at that time I didn't know how rare a sight that so didn't know to let anyone know. We have lots of little woodlands and I would have thought a potentially very good place for them

    Cin J

  • Talking in general terms, some species don't move about much. Cirl bunting in UK, for example, needed a helping hand to expand out of South Devon and into Cornwall as they didn't show signs of spreading to equally suitable habitat. The other reason for species absence in some areas has to be lack of suitable habitat. Mature trees, esp oak, are a good place to find nuthatches. Large areas with limited large, mature native trees, esp oak, are less likely to have and keep hold of nuthatches I'd have thought.
  • I'd be tempted to say habitat is the reason why nuthatches aren't resident in those areas, which look very much like open flat plains, rather than wooded areas, and two of the areas are predominantly commercial, another possible reason.


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  • Hi
    I wondered about this a few years ago as there are none near me and it's not on my garden list which currently stands at 75.

    I live in an area marked as resident on the map but there are none within 10 miles of me - it's a tough bird to find on a local bird race.
    I assumed that the suitable areas here in Norfolk are too far from breeding areas and that Nuthatches will not cross large expanses of unsuitable habitat .

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  • I would say it is down to the habitat..age of trees/woods.

    On my patch I don't get them, the site is about 15 years old.

    1km away is an old wood, not quite ancient where you get good numbers of them.

    It's the same for treecreepers.

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  • Thank you all, some great information there.

    It certainly seems it's habitat related which doesn't surprise me.
    It appears there's plenty of suitable locations that could support their residency if they only made it there in the first instance.
    Given their numbers seem to be on the incline, let's hope we see them 'spread their wings' and move further afield so a few more of us could enjoy them and seymouraves could improve on that impressive species count with another!