Watching White-breasted Nuthatches Build A Nest

by Larry on March 31, 2009

White-breasted Nuthatch (male) photos by Larry Jordan

Three weeks ago, while checking my bluebird trail at Lema Ranch, I heard a White-breasted Nuthatch calling and followed that call to find a pair building their nest in an old oak tree.

They started bringing in small pieces of bark and lichen, then …

Working at a feverish pace, both the male and female brought fairly large sticks

Too big I thought to get through the entrance hole to the nest

But they managed to turn the sticks sideways to fit them through the hole.

My guess is that this pair of White-breasted Nuthatches was filling in part of this tree cavity with the sticks before placing the final shredded bark, grass and fur lining into the nest cavity.  If all goes well, they will lay 5 – 9 eggs and incubate them for two weeks.

By my calculations, I should be seeing more activity at this nest site soon as the chicks will be fed by both parents for 18 to 26 days before they fledge and then another couple of weeks afterward.  I hope to be able to follow this adventure with them as they raise their young and teach them the art of hunting down insects.

I also have a pair of White-breasted Nuthatches that visit my yard that I hope will use my nestbox as a nesting site this year.  You see, nuthatches will also nest in man-made nest boxes.  Wish me luck!

I leave you with the image of this beautiful and fun bird in flight from its nest.

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