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It’s not unusual for a Red-breasted Nuthatch to be upside down. It’s in their nature. As they creep along foraging in the trees, they look just as comfortable on the topside of a branch as they do on the underside; gravity just doesn’t seem to take the same notice of them that it does the rest of us. Unlike gravity, domestic cats do take notice of nuthatches, and when a fledgling nuthatch crossed paths with a free-roaming housecat on May 19, his whole world was turned upside down.


The young nuthatch was rescued from a yard in Seattle, and when he arrived at the center he was in rough shape. The skin on his right wing was punctured and the bone beneath was broken. Still, the resilient little bird kept up his steady, nasally-sounding call and frequently opened his mouth to beg for food. He retained this perky attitude throughout his four-week stay at the PAWS Wildlife Center, and he made a full recovery thanks to excellent treatment and supportive care provided by PAWS staff, interns and volunteers.


On May 16, the young nuthatch was released back to the wild. Now an independent sub-adult, he is ready to face the challenges of the world on his own. You can help ensure that he has one less challenge by keeping your cats safely contained and encouraging others to do the same. In the future, we hope that the nuthatch’s world is only turned upside down because he is searching for food, not because he has been attacked by a cat.

More information on keeping your cat safely, and happily, contained can be found on the PAWS website.


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Kevin, thanks for this excellent post. It shows very clearly the importance of keeping cats indoors, in an outdoor enclosure, or on a leash and harness.

Never have known that this awesome creature existed until your post. Thank you for doing mother nature a favor by helping helpless animals out there.

PAWS treated animals very well. From being injured, now, the bird is going back to wild because of PAW's support and care for them. Job well done!

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