General Description: Compact bird with reddish underside and slate-colored upperparts. It has long, strong toes and claws, and a long, solid bill. It has a white chin, black eyeline, and white line above the eye-line, in addition to a narrow, dark cap at the top of the head. The cap is black on males, gray on females.
Habitat: Prefer mature, wet, coniferous forest with closed canopies, especially those of spruce or fir. Can also be found in more open forests and patches of smaller trees.
Behavior: Like other nuthatches, they use their strong legs and claws to walk up, down, and sideways on tree trunks, probing crevices for food. Will cache suet and seed from feeders in crevices to return to later. Form monogamous pairs.
Diet: Primarily insects and spiders in summer. In winter, they also eat seeds.
Range in North America: Year round range in southern Canada, northern New England, Western Washington, Oregon, Northern California, and the Rockies. In winter, they can also be found in scarce numbers in the Midwest and South.
When to See in Washington: Year-round residents of Western and Northeastern Washington.