The nuthatch is a short-tailed
bird known for its acrobatics, running up and down and all around trees,
but especially for coming down the tree head-first!
species live in North America (White-breasted, Red-breasted, Pygmy, and
Brown-headed), and even though they do not take to nesting boxes as well
as some other birds, they are cavity-dwelling birds and are worth trying
comes from their habit of pushing a nut into a crevice in the bark of a
tree, and then pounding it, appearing to try to "hatch" it.
White-breasted Nuthatches (Sitta carolinensis) are found in nearly
all states in beeches and oaks in the east, and in oaks and conifers in
the west. They have black caps over white faces, with gray backs,
short tails, and long, narrow bills. With no great musical talent,
these birds give a call that is nasal sounding, either a rapid series of
whistles on one pitch, or a one low nasal note. This bird is more
widespread and more common at feeders than its red-breasted cousin.
It can even be taught to eat from human hands.
nuthatch feeds on insects gleaned from the bark of tree trunks and the
nuts of deciduous trees. It loves acorns and beechnuts and also likes
pine seeds, grain waste, and the seeds and berries of other
plants. It stores food in the fall under loose tree bark. At
feeders it likes sunflower seeds, suet, peanut butter, nutmeats, and
cracked corn and millet.
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) is slightly smaller, with
a distinctive black stripe across the eye and a rust-colored
breast. It is also a bird of the forest, preferring conifers or mixed
woods in nearly every part of the country. It digs a hole in soft,
decaying wood and smears the entrance hole with pitch. They are messy
nest-builders, so don't open the nesting box while it is occupied, or it
may all fall out.
Red-breasted Nuthatch feeds primarily on conifer seeds and insects in tree
bark. They store food as well and enjoy suet, peanut butter, nuts and
sunflower seeds at a feeder.