Red-breasted nuthatches are tiny, active birds. They are the most common nuthatch species out of the three we have in BC. The other two species are the white-breasted nuthatch and the pygmy nuthatch, both of which are not found on Vancouver Island. The red-breasted nuthatch can be easily distinguished from these two other species by its reddish belly and its distinct white eye-stripe. They have a relatively long, pointed bill, a short tail, and almost no neck.
Red-breasted nuthatches are bark foragers that move quickly across tree trunks and branches in any direction. During the summer red-breasted nuthatches eat mostly insects and other arthropods, foraging for them within the furrows of the tree bark. In the fall and winter they switch to eating more conifer seeds.
Red breasted nuthatches breed throughout the province and are most common in the Georgia Depression and Southern Interior Ecoprovinces. They are typically found in mature coniferous forests, including old-growth forests as well as urban and suburban areas. Their highest abundance is in the Coastal-Douglas Fir biogeoclimatic zone, where the Esquimalt Gorge Park is located, on the south-east tip of Vancouver Island.