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Nuthatch by Vanessa Armstrong

Unfortunately, my first meeting with this beautiful little bird wasn’t a good one. I discovered one in my garden and the poor thing was dead. I wasn’t sure what it was at first - I hadn’t seen one before, but it’s colours were stunning - blue grey back with a soft cream underbelly and chest. There was a dark stripe that ran across its eyes and it had a long tail.

Quite how it came to be in my garden, I don’t know. We don’t have any trees - they favour oak trees, of which there aren’t any nearby and as far as I know, it wasn’t nesting in the eaves as I haven't seen any others since. They also prefer woodlands and large gardens - primarily for the large amounts of food source and the gardens around, including mine, don’t fall into that category.

There are 24 species worldwide and although our species was once confined to south east England, they seem to have spread themselves about a bit, with breeding found in Scotland dating back from 1989.

Its name is derived from 'nut hacker', as it opens nuts by wedging them in crevices and then jabbing at them with their sharp pointed beaks. Nuts aren't the only food source for this lovely little bird - insects, seeds and acorns are also on the menu.

Nests aren’t built but instead, holes or crevices in trees are utilised. The female will often use mud to shape her nest which protects her eggs from other predators. She will lay 6-8 eggs and the fledglings will leave around 24 days old. Once fully grown, they are about 14 cms long.

Since finding the nuthatch in my garden, I have come across various other random articles on nuthatches which led me to think that perhaps their sighting and the articles meant that there is a message in there - what energies does this little bird have... Nuthatches are not afraid of any other bird - if they are being jostled for space on a bird table - the nuthatch will stand its ground, often being vocal while it’s at it. Nuthatch teaches us to stand OUR grounds and to fight for what we believe in. To not be a pushover. It also teaches us courage and to have strength. They also teach us that we need to put our thoughts and dreams into action. Thought alone won’t get you your dreams - you need to get out there and find them. Nuthatch will give you the determination to follow your goals and to succeed if the intent is strong!

Nuthatches are strongly connected to the woodpecker; whose symbolism is very similar to that of the nuthatch. The woodpecker is strongly rooted to communication and opportunity - voice your concerns and needs, find solutions to your own barriers and go get what you want!

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