The White-breasted Nuthatch gets its name from its habit of jamming large nuts and acorns into tree bark, then whacking them with their sharp bill to “hatch” out the seed from the inside.

They eat mainly insects, including weevil larvae, wood-boring beetle larvae, other beetles, tree hoppers, scale insects, ants, gall fly larvae, caterpillars, stinkbugs, click beetles, and spiders.  They also eat seeds and nuts, including acorns, hawthorn, sunflower seeds, and sometimes crops such as corn.

The clutch size is 5-9 eggs.  They have one brood.  The incubation period is 13-14 days and the nesting period is 26 days.

Females build the nest on their own, lining the nest cavity with fur, bark, and lumps of dirt.  She then builds a nest cup of fine grass, shredded bark, feathers, and other soft material.  White-breasted Nuthatches often reuse their nest holes in subsequent years.

They build their nests in natural tree cavities or abandoned woodpecker holes.  They sometimes enlarge these holes but rarely excavate them entirely on their own ( as Red-breasted Nuthatches often do).

These photos were taken on May 2, 2015, on the LATO trail.