I didn’t know anything about nuthatches except that they are similar to woodpeckers, but are a different family of birds.
They like eating bugs in trees and walk up and down tree trunks. They are, apparently, the only bird that walks headfirst down trees.
There are three kinds and all of them live here. I’ve only seen two of them, but the third one may yet show up.
The nuthatches are basically identical to each other except for color. I’ve seen two of them on the feeder. There’s the white-breasted nuthatch, which has a white breast, and the red-bellied nuthatch which has a yellow underbody, but some blotchy red feathered areas near its tail. I wondered what those weird-looking red patches were and it turns out, it’s that other nuthatch.
The third nuthatch, the brown-headed one looks just like the other two, but in the middle of the black cap is a brown beanie. These guys can live in New England but are more common in Canada.
Closely related are the brown creepers and I’ve seen them, too. They are not as pretty or striking as the others. Basically, brown freckled medium size birds with long, pointy beaks. Males and females look the same. I’ve seen them, too.
Mostly though, I’ve seen a lot of red-bellied and whited-chested nuthatches. These are not usually birds that hang out on bird feeders, but they really like ours. Must be the quality of the feed!
So. If you see a bird walking down a tree head first, it’s probably a nuthatch or a brown creeper.