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White-breasted Nuthatch Journal


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White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)

This short, stocky bird, largest of North American nuthatches, is a permanent resident throughout the eastern and western U.S. The white-breasted nuthatch spends most of its life in large deciduous forests, moving over the bark of tree trunks and main branches in a series of short, jerky hops.

Nuthatches always seem to be upside down. From this position they may find food in bark crevices overlooked by up-the-trunk foragers. After descending a tree head-first, the nuthatch flies to the top of another tree and starts down.

The nuthatch diet includes a wide variety of nuts, seeds and acorns. The birds often feed in the company of mixed flocks including chickadees, downy woodpeckers, kinglets and brown creepers, particularly during the winter. The nuthatch also comes to feeding stations and can be lured to one’s hand for food.

Pairs of white-breasted nuthatches remain together in a feeding territory throughout the year. They nest high in large trees, often in natural cavities or woodpecker holes. They also may nest in bird boxes. These nuthatches have a whistled song, a series of 6-8 low notes each with a slightly rising inflection. They also have an unmistakable "yank-yank" nasal call note.

artwork and text by Steve Sierigk © 1986

Additional information

Weight 0.82 lbs
Dimensions 8.5 × 7.25 × 0.5 in
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