White-Breasted Nuthatch is a small songbird that lives in old-growth woodlands across much of temperate North America.
Its a very common visitor to home feeders which is often a part of mixed flocks with Chickadees, and Downy Woodpeckers.
White-Breasted Nuthatch – Description
It’s a stocky little bird with a large head, short tail, powerful bill, and strong feet which it uses to cling on to the bark of trees. In fact, White-Breasted Nuthatch Nuthatches are often seen foraging upside-down on tree trunks, as seen in the short video (below). The upper-parts of the bird are pale blue-gray, and the face and underparts are white. It has a black cap and a chestnut lower belly. The wingspan of the White-Breasted Nuthatch is approximately 20 to 27 cm.
Also shown in this video, the Nuthatch will take seeds and wedge them into crevices in a tree’s bark, using it to hold the food item while they break it open with their beaks.
White-Breasted Nuthatch – Diet
Like other nuthatches, the White-Breasted Nuthatch forages for insects on tree trunks and branches. Seeds form a substantial part of the birds winter diet, as do acorns and hickory nuts that are stored by the bird in the fall.
White-Breasted Nuthatch – Behaviour
The nest of the White-Breasted Nuthatch is in a hole or crevice of a tree, and the breeding pair might smear insects around the entrance as a deterrent to unwanted squirrel visitors.
The female usually lays between 5 and 8 eggs, and she incubates them alone while the male bring her food during the incubation period. Once the eggs hatch, both parents help tend to the young and feed them. The young develop wing feathers that are large enough for flight after about 3 weeks.
Adults and young may be killed by hawks, owls, and snakes, and deforestation is a cause of local habitat loss. Fortunately, this is a common species with no major conservation concerns over most of its range at the moment.