One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A small songbird with a long strong bill, a stiffened square-cut tail, and the habit of climbing down tree trunks head first.
- ‘Although cardinals, chickadees, titmice, blue jays, nuthatches and finches will eat the large striped sunflower seed, there is much less waste and a bit more nutrition in the small, oil type.’
- ‘Plenty of birds of winter still mob Ann's bird feeders; chickadees, juncos, sparrows, woodpeckers, nuthatches, goldfinch, and doves are in no short supply.’
- ‘They have disappeared from our view, as have bullfinches and tree sparrows, nuthatches and marsh tits.’
- ‘In Massachusetts winter residents include chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, titmice, cardinals, and mockingbirds.’
- ‘In my yard, jays and grosbeaks entertain me on one side of the house (large tube feeders with seed trays) and goldfinches, chickadees, and nuthatches feed in peace on the other (small tubes with no seed tray).’
Middle English: from nut + obsolete hatch (related to hack), from the bird's habit of hacking with the beak at nuts wedged in a crevice.
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