Bird of the Day: White-breasted Nuthatch at Lake Tahoe
Once again, being a rank amateur has its benefits. I get to identify new birds all the time, and today was no exception. I was scouting out a trip I'm taking tomorrow to teach some geology at Lake Tahoe. We stopped at Chimney Beach on the east shore at Lake Tahoe State Park and I was wandering down the trail seemingly surrounded by birds, all of whom were darting quickly from one branch to another. I finally caught a few images of a White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis). The species is widespread across North America, but I've not seen them in my normal haunts yet.
According to my sources, the name comes from their practice of putting seeds or nuts into cracks in the bark of trees and pounding until they can get to the interior ("hatching" the seed).