Nuthatches, like this one, got their name, so ‘they’ say, because they take a nut and wedge it into the fork between branches or in a crack in the bark of a tree and then hack (or hatch?) it apart. They are though, not above taking the easy option and if someone will provide them with a ready-hatched supply of nuts they are happy to allow old customs and usages to lapse.
They are about the same size as the Great Tits, who consider the peanut container their personal property but they are a little more stockily built and brook no interference. The Great Tits sit in a convenient bush and complain volubly, and the Nuthatches ignore them. Should a Nuthatch arrive at the feeder and find it cluttered up with other birds it will shoulder its way in and take possession.
The only exception is the Woodpecker. The Nuthatch is not on speaking terms with him – I think he has heard a rumour that the Woodpecker was involved in nest raiding last spring and he will have nothing to do with him.
The RSPB web site says that Nuthatches are common in the south of the country but are only occasionally reported in Scotland. Our Nuthatch is obviously taking the trouble to stay this side of Hadrian’s wall. I’m glad he knows where it is – we haven’t been able to find it yet. I’m sure it must be easier to find from the Scottish side – the Romans would have been a bit fed up if they went to all that trouble and no one ever came to visit.