How to Keep the White-Breasted Nuthatch Happy at Your Feeder

How to Keep the White-Breasted Nuthatch Happy at Your Feeder

Do you know how the White-breasted Nuthatch got its name? As a small bird with a hearty appetite, it has the habit of jamming acorns and other large nuts into small crevices of tree bark and hitting them with its sharp bill to hatch out the seed. Even though quite common, White-breasted Nuthatches are beautiful to look at – their gray-blue, black and white plumage and their upturned bills make them one of the most striking of the species. Strong and agile, they often turn sideways or upside down on tree trunks and branches while foraging for food. Though they’re small, they have a mighty song which is easily recognizable and can be heard from a long way away.

Because they like woodland edges, White-breasted Nuthatches can often be found in suburban yards, and love sunflower seeds, peanuts and suet. If you ever notice them making numerous trips to and from your feeder in a short amount of time, it’s probably because they’re storing the seeds in nearby tree bark furrows or crevices for later in the winter. Even though the male and female stay together throughout the season, their pairing doesn’t always serve them equally well. The male is more likely to be attacked by predators when he’s alone, therefore he tries to stay close to the female. At the same time, he’s known to push her aside at feeders and other foraging sites, which one would think is not very nice of him. But we’re not nuthatches, so we’ll stay out of their business. Maybe it all works out for them in the end…

So how do you keep White-breasted Nuthatches happy at your feeder? Here are some ideas:

Reduce or eliminate insecticides from your yard. White-breasted Nuthatches have copious appetites for insects, so they will naturally be drawn to trees and brush rich in their primary food sources. Dead trees or branches are also good places for insects, so leave those intact.

Place a waterer in your back yard. This will attract all kinds of other birds such as chickadees, creepers and small woodpeckers, which will signal to the White-breasted Nuthatch that it’s safe to feed there.

Use a feeder designed for large seeds (such as sunflower seeds or peanuts) or a suet feeder. These feeders have openings designed for species with larger bills and often include cages and/or hoods to protect the seeds from getting wet. Check out our peanut feeder here , our suet feeder and our mixed seed feeder, each available in a post mount or hanging style. They are made of sturdy ABS materials and hold larger amounts of seeds than most other feeders on the market. Our readers swear by them, and we believe you’d love them. Why not try one today?

If you do purchase one, congratulations. We’d love to hear about your experiences with our feeders. Feel free to drop us a line and tell us what you like most about the Harmony Bird feeders. We look forward to hearing from you.

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