I finally know what my ‘nuthatches’ are. They are Tufted Titmice.
After a renewed attempt to protect the babies from my dogs I sat to make sure the mama bird could get into her nest to feed her babies until she came back. I’m sad to say that my other attempts to protect the birds were less than successful, although the Tufted Titmouse has many predators and I couldn’t say for certain that my dogs are responsible. Two babies remain and I have made it so that it will be ‘uncomfortable’ for my dogs to continue their harassment of the birds.
Here’s an interesting fact: The Tufted Titmouse is protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act even though it is generally NOT a migratory bird (unless I misunderstand the definition of ‘migratory’). Individual birds tend to live out their short (about 2 years) lives within a couple of miles of their birth place. Fortunately the act doesn’t seem to cover unintended damage by pets, only the pursuit, hunting, taking, capturing or killing; attempting to take, capture or kill; possessing, offering to or sell, barter, purchase, deliver or cause to be shipped, exported, imported, transported, carried or received any migratory bird, part, nest, egg or product, manufactured or not.
Yet another interesting fact is that the Tufted Titmouse typically has two sets of babies each season. I really just hope that they are smart enough to move to a new nesting site before they have the next set.
Migratory Bird Treaty Act
Expansion of Territory
Field Guide to Birds of North America