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 Red-breasted Nuthatch

Status in Michigan
Fairly Common

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Red-breasted Nuthatch.

Use the links below to view the Red-breasted Nuthatch reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Red-breasted Nuthatch sightings.
Red-breasted Nuthatch Archives Reports
Fall 2003 108
Spring 2003 27
Winter 02-03 28
Fall 2002 11
Summer 2002 12
Spring 2002 77
Winter 01-02 77
Fall 2001 172
Summer 2001 17
Spring 2001 35
Winter 00-01 117
Fall 2000 596
Summer 2000 30
Spring 2000 40
Winter 00-99 82
Fall 1999 102
Spring/Summer 1999 16

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Red-breasted Nuthatch

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Red-breasted Nuthatch
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text
The Birds of Michigan - by: Norman A. Wood
Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75

Sitta canadensis Linnaeus
Red-breasted Nuthatch

Common transient especially in autumn. Uncommon winter resident. Summer resident south to Wexford and (perhaps) Montcalm counties. Apparently somewhat irregular in all seasons.

First listed for Michigan by Kneeland (1857: 233).

SPRING.-Because the species occurs in all sections of Michigan in winter, and in all but the more southern counties in summer, definite migration records are few; these relate principally to May. In the Toledo-Erie marsh area, L. W. Campbell (1940: 115) has noted a light movement during most springs, chiefly around the first week of May. Swales (1904: 42; and notes) seldom found any of the species at Detroit after the middle of May, though Gibbs (1885: 7) mentioned occasional occurrence in Kalama- zoo County as late as June 1. At Sand Point, Huron County, in the spring of 1931 and of 1932, D. W. Douglass found a few of the species present with some regularity until May 22 (1932), but none in the spring of 1933. In the Upper Peninsula at the tip of Whitefish Point, Chippewa County (N. A. Wood, 1914: 72), "flocks of migrating birds were seen on May 14 and later dates."

SUMMER.-The small amount of data available indicate that eggs are laid in May.

Lower Peninsula.-Gibbs stated (Barrows, 1912: 688-92) that the species was a summer resident in Montcalm and Wexford counties, but offered no exact data. William Brewster, however, collected several Red- breasted Nuthatches (M.C.Z.) in 1888 near Cadillac, Wexford County, including an incubating female taken on May 12, 1888. At East Lake, Kalkaska County (Dunham, 1904: 69), a pair was building a nest on May 10, 1899, that by May 17 contained 4 fresh eggs. Several specimens (U.M.M.Z.) have been taken in Crawford and Oscoda counties (N. A. Wood and Frothingham, 1905: 53; subsequent data) in July and early August. One was noted near Boyne Falls, Charlevoix County (Van Tyne, 1925: 626) on July 5, 1923, and the species was common in July on Beaver Island, Charlevoix County, according to Barrows (1904: 81). It was "met with in several places" in July near the shore of Little Traverse Bay, Emmet County (Widmann, 1902: 237), where it was seen with fledged young on July 12.

Upper Peninsula.-On Les Cheneaux Islands, Mackinac County, Van Tyne (1923: 25) found the Red-breasted Nuthatch "fairly abundant" in summer (1917 to 1921). Several specimens (U.M.M.Z.) were collected in Chippewa County by R. A. MacMullan and T. D. Hinshaw in July, 1938, on Drummond Island and by N. A. Wood and others (N. A. Wood, 1914:72) in July 1912 and 1914 on Whitefish Point. At Sault Ste Marie in the same county Christofferson noted a pair excavating a nest cavity on April 14, 1927; Bryens also noted nest construction, at McMillan, Luce County, on April 16, 1932. In the Huron Mountains, Marquette County, the species has been common in all seasons except winter (Christy, 1925: 216; S. S. Gregory, Jr., 1929: 187). It was present in July and early August, 1904, in the Porcupine Mountains, Ontonagon County (N. A. Wood, Peet, and McCreary, 1906: 120; U.M.M.Z.), and was found to be rather common on summer expeditions on Isle Royale (N. A. Wood, Peet, and McCreary, 1906: 126; Max M. Peet, 1909o; 105, 117; 1909: 381).

FALL.-Movement, apparently heavier than in spring, occurs chiefly from late August to late September or the first part of October.

Upper Peninsula.-The species was still present on Isle Royale on the day of N. A. Wood's departure, October 2, 1929. "Many" were noted at Whitefish Point, Chippewa County, by Fargo on August 16, 1925. On the islands and mainland of northwestern Huron County this nuthatch has be- come common about August 15 (N. A. Wood and Gaige, 1911: 306) and abundant in early September (N. A. Wood, 1911: 111). Specimens (U.M.M.Z.) have been taken in late August (August 28, 2023) in Kalamazoo County, and in the first and second weeks of September in Jackson and Washtenaw counties. About Detroit the species was at times listed by Swales (1904: 42; and notes) by late August (3 birds on August 22, 1908, at Grosse He), though usually not until early September. In the Toledo- Erie marsh area L. W. Campbell (1940: 115) has observed a few (some- times only 1 or 2) about the first week of October.

WINTER.-As in other seasons, at any one locality in winter the Red- breasted Nuthatch has been irregular in numbers and often absent. S. S. Gregory, Jr. (1929: 187; U.M.M.Z.), found it uncommon in winter in the Huron Mountains, Marquette County; F. H. Chapin (Barrows, 1912: 688-92) termed it "a common winter resident in Mackinac, Alger, and Luce counties." At McMillan, Luce County (Bryens, notes; Bryens and Fritz, 1932: 59; Leonard Wing, 1940:186 ; U.M.M.Z.), it has sometimes been fairly numerous, 20 and 24 being seen in a day, but many years it has not been seen at all in winter.

Lower Peninsula.-On January 9, 1938, near Waters, Otsego County, C. H. Westman observed about 25 Red-breasted Nuthatches and collected 2 (U.M.M.Z.). Gibbs (1885: 7) listed them as occasional winter visitants in Kalamazoo County; Walkinshaw (1930&; 44-^5) reported 1 in the Battle Creek area on December 22, 1929. In the vicinity of Ann Arbor, John L. George and D. P. Duncan (1938: 55) saw 8 on December 21, 1937, and R. E. Olsen and A. D. Tinker saw 15, January 25, 1934. Swales found them occasional in the Detroit area, noting 3 on December 25, 1912, 2 on December 23, 1903, and 3 on January 2, 1909.

Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

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