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White-breasted Nuthatch


From bark to bark he darts in flight,

This craning no-neck woodland sprite—

Our all-season tree inspector

And invertebrate collector

Who claims old treeholes for his den.

Part woodpecker, and partly wren,

And bearing feathers that would place

Him in a pygmy blue-jay race,

He barely sings, he doesn’t drum,

But climbing up and down the plumb

Not only facing up but down

Is the nuthatch’s renown.


The trunks he wends across his days

Are all his upright alleyways,

And as he charts his alpine course

We hear his scratch and nasal Morse—

His neurotic traffic-clearing horn

That seems less urgent than inborn.

His escalades will carry him

From bole to bough to outer limb

And all the while around he’ll wind

Above, before, below, behind—

No tree-climber’s quite as stellar

As this spry no-hands rapeller.


All his circumambulations!

And determined excavations,

When with a probe and peck or flitch

This aide relieves a broadleaf’s itch

And earns the morsel of some pest

He’ll eat or stash or bring to nest—

He saves for when the hunts are harder

In his secret winter larder.

And winter’s when he comes for seed or

Suet at the backyard feeder.

But he only stays for just a hello.

He’s strictly carry-out, this fellow—


He bills one seed then off he flits

And on a tree that seed he splits

To have the kernel—hence his name,

And soon he’s back for just the same.

The way he cranes about to see

When scaling up or down a tree!

This no-neck with his upturned beak

Could use a chiropractic tweak—

And music lessons, in our view,

But no-neck is no-nonsense too.

And with the nuthatch we won’t wrangle.

We see things from a different angle.

carolina wren pic.jpg
bobwhite quail pic.jpg
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