Usually, it is the hummingbird that is the best at communicating when the feeders are empty. If you have a nectar feeder and it goes empty, one of the best clues is a hummingbird flying up to the window as if to let you know the nectar is bad or empty. If you have studied bird behavior or worked with birds as an education animal, it's not a far stretch for bird--even a hummingbird with an incomprehensibly small brain to figure out that the large creatures in the building come out and fill the feeders. The above white-breasted nuthatch has appeared to figure out the same strategy. The other day, it was hanging around the suet sandwich (a great feeder if you are having raccoon problems, they can't seem to crack it).
I was out taking photos around this feeder still had a little bit of suet left in the center of it. I was in deep inside, a woodpecker with a long tongue would have problem getting at the food, but a wee nuthatch with a short tongue would be SOL. So, while I was out taking photos, this white-breasted nuthatch kept hanging out and just sitting on the feeder. A nuthatch sitting still is immediate cause for suspicion. At first I wonder if it sees a hawk, but no other birds at the surrounding feeders appear alarmed. The nuthatch then worked around the feeder pecking the fake bark, the screw, any little crevice it could and then it would look at me as if to communicate, "I'd like to eat here, but there appears to be no fatty bounty on which for me to forage."
I filled the feeder.
I had some of what I would call "emergency suet." Not the best stuff, it read "peanut suet" but had a ton of corn inside. I filled both the suet sandwich and the suet log with the same stuff. The nuthatch (and the downy and hairy woodpeckers) went for it. I was really surprised at how they devoured it...especially when I think of all the times I have splurged on fancier cashew suets (that I made sure did not have corn).
The nuthatch did appear to be perplexed with the corn. I love the above shot. It set the corn kernal down on the log, repositioned it, picked it up, set it down and repeat. I think the nuthatch was expecting the usual nut chips and the corn texture surprised it. As I watched teh nuthatches comeing in for the suet, they didn't eat it right at the feeder. All of them (both white-breasted and red-breasted) would take a hunk and cache it in a nearby tree. I'm not sure if they will eat it later this winter or not, but it's interesting to watch their reaction to corn.
Anyone else have nuthatches eating corn?