Pygmy Nuthatches (Sitta pygmaea) are found in pine forests in western North America from Canada down to central Mexico. These small nuthatches are especially fond of Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests, where their high-pitched peeping calls are a common sound. We spotted this Pygmy Nuthatch below and several others in the Ponderosa Pines at the south rim of Arizona's Grand Canyon, where these little birds are quite common.
Both male and female Pygmy Nuthatches are blue-gray above and whitish below with a brownish gray crown bordered by a dark eye-line. The similar Brown-headed Nuthatch (Sitta pusilla) has a brown crown and is only found in the eastern United States.
Pygmy Nuthatches are often observed creeping around in the trees and probing crevices in the bark as they search for insects. Pygmy Nuthatches will also eat seeds, especially in the wintertime when insects are scarce, and these friendly little birds will happily visit bird feeders for both seed and suet.