The Nuthatch – a very endearing bird


Nuthatch sculpture

Last year was a bit of a Nuthatch year for me.

During the Big Garden Birdwatch at the beginning of 2017, it was the Nuthatch I sketched.  Little did I know then that the pair at the feeders were to nest in my old Sycamore tree, and raise young, that year and last year too.  I spent hours watching them, and heard their loud ‘tuit tuit tuit’ call often too.

All this helped with the carving of a Nuthatch sculpture.  Not only are they easily recognisable from their striking black eye stripe and blue-grey upper parts, but Nuthatches are so distinctive in their movement and habits.  This hanging upside-down, and travelling down tree branches and trunks head first, in spurts of movement clinging on with the incredibly long claws on their strong toes, make them instantly identifiable.

Nuthatch sculpture

So in their colour and movement they are obvious.  My challenge was in achieving a likeness, a Nuthatchiness, in a still stone, in a dark coloured stone.  It was also a test to carve the powerful, but long and thin beak and those fine feet in the selected soapstone.   The whole working process, from the first sketches, to the finished piece, is available to see here.






  1. Comment by Caroline:

    The soapstone seems perfect for the Nuthatch, defining its key features while adding a sense of the dark tree top trunks these birds seem to favour in my neck of the woods! The bill and feet must indeed have been a challenge, Jennifer! I’m just about to click your final link to see the process…

    • Reply by Jennifer:

      The ones here are sometimes only just visible in the dark tree branch mass, so I know what you mean, I think the shine makes it appear less dark – you’ll be all Nuthatched out! Hope you enjoy the process and stages of making. Thanks for following through all the links.

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