Canadian birds invade Brooklyn

Steve Nanzz

There are invaders pouring across the Canadian border, and Homeland Security is doing nothing to stop them.

In fact, there could be one lurking outside your window right now, looking in with a dark and beady eye.

Fortunately, they are about four inches long and weigh half an ounce — and the only living things to which they pose a major threat are invertebrates.

Red-breasted nuthatches are small, squat birds with chisel-shaped bills, known by their red and gray color scheme and black eye mask. With little fear of humans, they are known to perch within yards of observers while devouring insects and spiders.

In good times, these birds make their homes in forests in Canada and high in the Rockies. But when the spruce and fir seeds on which they rely are scarce, they become refugees — and large numbers of birds search for the land of opportunity.

Keen-eyed birdwatchers have already spotted the nuthatches in Prospect Park in August, according to the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s eBird report.

Once they’ve joined forces with the locals, they will typically spend the winter living it up at bird feeders, and may linger well into the spring.

So Brooklyn residents might as well get used to this latest invasion, at least for the next six months. If you see something, it’s no use to say something, except perhaps to your local bird club.

Just be grateful that this isn’t an irruption year for gyrfalcons or snowy owls. Those jerks can wound a Yorkshire Terrier!

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