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The nuthatch is the ‘Crown Prince’ of the birdfeeder
Spaulding Outdoors
By Jack Spaulding
 I like all kinds of birds. Watching them crowd around my bird feeding station is a source of great joy for me. If you asked me which bird is my favorite, I would have a tendency to say the nuthatch.
When the sunflower seed feeder is empty, some of the first visitors once it is refilled are the nuthatches. The little birds have mostly overcome their fear of me, and I only have to step back a few feet before they land on the feeder.
I consider the nuthatch to be “The Clown Prince” of the birdfeeder. The two-toned bundle of feathers the size of a small sparrow is one of the few birds you will find walking down the side of a tree head-first or hanging from a small limb upside down. It is as herky-jerky as the comedian Jerry Lewis, and calls out a faint “pleet pleet” and short whistles as it busies itself about snagging another sunflower seed.
Once the nuthatch has secured a seed, it will fly to a location where it can tightly wedge the seed and break it open with its beak.
Indiana is home to two distinct types of nuthatches, the white breasted nuthatch and the red breasted nuthatch. Both have similar life styles and are thought to mate for life.
The nuthatch is a cavity nester and will take up residence in an appropriate sized woodpecker hole for the nest. Both male and female nuthatches work building the nest which is a simple affair of grass, hair and small twigs. Typically, the clutch of eggs will be from five to nine, and the male provides and feeds the female while she sits on the eggs. The eggs typically hatch in two weeks.
Both parents work at feeding the hatchlings and will continue to do so for some time even after the young fledge and leave the nest.
Both white breasted and red breasted nuthatches are found throughout the state. Get out and hang a sunflower seed feeder, and I can almost assure you will soon be graced with the presence of the Clown Prince of birds.

Indiana conservation officers honor their own
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Division of Law Enforcement held a ceremony in May at the Indiana Government Center in Indianapolis to remember fallen conservation officers and recognize officers who are currently serving for their achievements.
Indiana conservation officers are law enforcement officers for the DNR. The DNR Division of Law Enforcement is the oldest Indiana state law enforcement agency and has a total of 214 officers.
The ceremony started with a time of remembrance for fallen officers. The seven conservation officers who have died in the line of duty since the division’s inception in 1911, listed with their end of watch date, are Sgt. Ed Bollman, Feb. 13, 2018; F/Sgt. Karl E. Kelley, April 17, 1998; Officer Thomas Deniston, Oct. 16, 1990; Officer James D. Pitzer, Jan. 2, 1961; Officer Robert S. Perkins, May 27, 1958; and Wardens William J. Nattkemper and William J. Peare, who both died on April 27, 1926.
After the memorial ceremony, the division recognized current individual officers for their outstanding service.
District 3 Officer Matt Tholen, assigned to Tippecanoe County, was selected as the James D. Pitzer Indiana Conservation Officer of the Year. The award recognized Tholen as the top officer of 2023, selected from the 10 district officer of the year recipients.
The Pitzer award is named for James Pitzer, who was killed in the line of duty in Jay County. The recipient of the award demonstrates professional ethics, attitude, and service to the public while demonstrating dedication to the conservation of natural resources and the enforcement of laws affecting the department. The officer must also provide a positive influence, develop camaraderie within the ranks, and gain the confidence and respect of fellow officers.
Lt. Brandon Shoults received the Director’s Leadership Award for his work overseeing officers in District 9, in the eastern portion of the state.
District 4 officer Draven Browning was presented with the William J. Nattkemper Brotherhood Award. The award is named in remembrance of William J. Nattkemper who, along with William J. Peare, lost his life on April 27, 1926, on the Wabash River near Tecumseh. Officers L.B. Watson, John Pile, and A.R. Hill, who were witnesses to the incident, remained at the scene until the bodies of their fallen comrades were recovered. The award recognizes the commitment and inseparable bond of brotherhood displayed by the men who have become the hallmark of Indiana conservation officers.
District 5 Officer Max Winchell was recognized by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators as the state’s Boating Enforcement Officer of the Year for his leadership in boating education.
District 6 Officer Joe Tenbarge was presented with the 2023 Waterfowl Protection Officer of the Year award for his enforcement of waterfowl regulations and his related performance in public education and community interaction.
Sgt. Corey Norrod and Officer Shiloh Mast of District 9, along with officers Billy Doss of District 4, and Rob Klakamp and Claire Mitchel of District 8 were honored with Life Saving Awards for their exceptional actions saving lives.
Readers can contact the author by writing to this publication or e-mail Jack at 
Spaulding’s books, “The Best Of Spaulding Outdoors” and “The Coon Hunter And The Kid,” are available from as a paperback or Kindle download.