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Click to go to Audubon Society of Omaha Home Page Audubon Society of OmahaEastern Bluebird

Welcome to The Bluebird Box since 1995
Best of Bluebird Mailing Lists Classified

Nuthatches


Date: Sun, 5 Mar 2000 17:46:07 EST
From: Tvlady"at"aol.com
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Frustrated in Georgia

Joanne Cox - Monroe, GA (45 miles east of Atlanta) -- 70 degrees today

I've got four next boxes up that I'm monitoring. Box 1 has Nuthatches in them -- not Carolina Wrens as I previously thought. I got some better binoculars. Box 2 is 20 feet away. I had hoped for BBs to nest in there. Today I see Nuthatches lining the bottom of THAT box. Box 3 is in the backyard. No activity since Jan. 19 when Gary Springer put it up for me. Today, March 4, there are two Carolina Chickadees going in and out. I placed Box 4 (Real Bird Home -- Gary Springer's) in a neighbor's yard, and she has BBs defending it since it was put up in early Feb. Box 5 (also a Real Bird Home) has yet to be put up in another friend's yard because the pole to it was in my truck which was stolen several weeks ago. In the meantime, that same friend has a Wal-Mart special located on a tree and two BBs were going in and out of it today. I told her to take it down NOW and since I have my truck back, I'll take her the pole so the Real Bird Home can be put up instead. BTW, she's located in Atlanta -- in the city! Here I've got these NABS approved homes and I can't get BBs in them, and she has a Wal-Mart death trap... in the city!... and she has BBs interested in it. Aaarrrggghhhh.

So... here I am with three boxes being taken over by Nuthatches or Chickadees and my neighbor getting the Bluebirds and my city friend getting the Bluebirds!

Do I try to shoo away the Nuthatches out of one of the two boxes? or do I just let them and the Chickadees have the boxes they've claimed and just put up more boxes elsewhere? Neighbors seem to be happy for me to place boxes in their yards. It's a great opportunity to educate them about Bluebirds.

I listened to a talk given by Frances Sawyer yesterday. She's Prez of Bluebirds Over Georgia. Everything she said I had already learned on this ListServ. There were about 20 people gathered around at the Wild Birds Unlimited store. Everyone seemed anxious to grab her material. It's so nice when more and more people become educated.

Anyway, shall I just go buy some more boxes and place them elsewhere and let the Nuthatches and Chickadees have the ones already put up? It's frustrating because I see the Bluebirds around. I took a walk today with the binoculars and they're everywhere.

Call me... Frustrated in Georgia


Date: Sun, 5 Mar 2000 20:41:48 -0500
From: Dan & Rachel Thomas racheldan1"at"compuserve.com
To: BLUEBIRD BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: nuthatches and chickadees

Dan Thomas Lancaster PA

Joanne: I cannot help you with the nuthatches, but as far the the chickadees nesting in your boxes, I would gladly welcome them. . . To me, I would just as soon have a chickadee nest as I would a bluebird. Just looking at thier nest, with the moss on the bottom and lined with fur on top, shows how much work is put into nestbuilding. . . .

. Last year I had a chickadee build, I cleaned the box, . . . and then had a bluebird nest. . . By the way, that little chickadee had 8 eggs. . . That little bird ceases to amaze me.


Date: Sun, 5 Mar 2000 19:42:53 -0800 (PST)
From: Horace Sher hjsher1"at"yahoo.com
To: Tvlady"at"aol.com
Cc: Bluebird-L"at"Cornell.edu
Subject: Re: Frustrated in Georgia

Hi Joanne. I have 2 boxes in the backyard right now. One for the BB.. one for hopefully the Chickadee since he's the only one checking it out. I've read that Chickadees won't allow another pair of Chickadees to nest within a pretty large area. Don't remember exactly.. but around several acres. Also, what I've done is to place a BB feeder near the BB nestbox & the BB after using it have been chasing other birds away from their box & sometimes the feeder. Actually, the BB chased a C. Wren away from the BB feeder the other day & also a Chickadee away from the BB nestbox. The territory for the Nuthatch is also large. Ah! I've got it here in my notes.. Territory for Nuthatch=25-45 acres. Chickadee=1 1/4 acre. Titmouse=1 1/2 acre. So 4 boxes in your backyard might do it. One for each of your birds..Chickadee,Nuthatch,Titmouse,BB Let's see what other people say.... Horace in NC.

Tvlady"at"aol.com wrote:

Joanne Cox - Monroe, GA (45 miles east of Atlanta) -- 70 degrees today

I've got four next boxes up that I'm monitoring. Box 1 has Nuthatches in them -- not Carolina Wrens as I previously thought. I got some better binoculars. Box 2 is 20 feet away. I had hoped for BBs to nest in there. Today I see Nuthatches lining the bottom of THAT box. Box 3 is in the backyard. No activity since Jan. 19 when Gary Springer put it up for me. Today, March 4, there are two Carolina Chickadees going in and out. I placed Box 4 (Real Bird Home -- Gary Springer's) in a neighbor's yard, and she has BBs defending it since it was put up in early Feb. Box 5 (also a Real Bird Home) has yet to be put up in another friend's yard because the pole to it was in my truck which was stolen several weeks ago. In the meantime, that same friend has a Wal-Mart special located on a tree and two BBs were going in and out of it today. I told her to take it down NOW and since I have my truck back, I'll take her the pole so the Real Bird Home can be put up instead. BTW, she's located in Atlanta -- in the city! Here I've got these NABS approved homes and I can't get BBs in them, and she has a Wal-Mart death trap... in the city!... and she has BBs interested in it. Aaarrrggghhhh.

So... here I am with three boxes being taken over by Nuthatches or Chickadees and my neighbor getting the Bluebirds and my city friend getting the Bluebirds!

Do I try to shoo away the Nuthatches out of one of the two boxes? or do I just let them and the Chickadees have the boxes they've claimed and just put up more boxes elsewhere? Neighbors seem to be happy for me to place boxes in their yards. It's a great opportunity to educate them about Bluebirds.

I listened to a talk given by Frances Sawyer yesterday. She's Prez of Bluebirds Over Georgia. Everything she said I had already learned on this ListServ. There were about 20 people gathered around at the Wild Birds Unlimited store. Everyone seemed anxious to grab her material. It's so nice when more and more people become educated.

Anyway, shall I just go buy some more boxes and place them elsewhere and let the Nuthatches and Chickadees have the ones already put up? It's frustrating because I see the Bluebirds around. I took a walk today with the binoculars and they're everywhere.

Call me... Frustrated in Georgia


Date: Sun, 5 Mar 2000 23:39:01 -0500 (EST)
From: hubertrap"at"webtv.net (Joe Huber)
To: Tvlady"at"aol.com, BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: Frustrated in Georgia

Joe Huber Venice Fl. Hi Joanne,

Seems you have enough nest boxes up now to handle any possibilities. More shouldn't hurt any thing. The Chickadees and Nuthatch only nest once so these boxes will be available soon. The Bluebirds in Ga will nest two to three times. Still plenty of time left for this year at those same boxes. The birds will have more time to become aware of these new nesting sites. All the experienced bluebirders will say keep the Chickadee & Nuthatch nests if they materialize. We accept all native birds. Joe

Charter member NABS, Charter member OBS, Life member OBS Joe Huber
hubertrap"at"webtv.net
http://community.webtv.net/hubertrap/HOUSESPARROWCONTROL
http://community.webtv.net/hubertrap/RoostingBluebirds


Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2000 19:08:41 EST
From: Tvlady"at"aol.com
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Not So Frustrated in Georgia After All

Joanne Cox - Monroe, GA (45 miles east of Atlanta) 74 degrees on 3/6/00

Many thanks to all of you who responded to my "frustrating" e-mail. I see from the responses that I should be HAPPY to have Chickadees and Nuthatches. They are sweet little birds and it's been fun watching them. Had no idea it's such a rare treat to "house" Nuthatches, so I now consider myself very lucky that they chose my boxes. They actually are little "goofballs." They stuff the bottom vents of the box and go in an out of there all day long. No nest yet... just lining the bottom edges and stuff the drainage holes. If I go near the box, and they are in the nearby tree branch, they "scold" me. Pretty funny. And it's hilarious to watch them climb the tree upside down. Anyway, thanks for letting me know how lucky I am. I'll get some blues perhaps after the Nuthatches and Chickadees nest.

It's a great time of year! Spring in Georgia is my favorite season. Here's hoping it heads your way as well.


Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2000 20:12:39 EDT
From: BluebirdNut"at"aol.com
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Nuthatches

Joanne Cox - Monroe, GA (45 miles east of Atlanta)

Here's an update on the Brownheaded Nuthatches that claimed the Bluebird nestbox in my front yard. There are now 6 nestlings born between April 1-3. Weather has not been good, so I haven't checked, and it may be too late to check them now (in case of early fledging)... but I hear them cheeping inside. Parents are constantly in and out of the box. Unseasonably cold here in Georgia these past few weeks. Last Saturday night, temps went down to freezing and winds were horrendous. I wrapped the box with a fleece jacket. Don't know if it helped, but it made ME feel better. :) They were so newly born... I felt like I had to do SOMETHING. Nuthatch parents came out at daylight and freaked out when they flew back to the box. Fluttered around it wondering what the heck happened to their box. Even though temp was still 32, I quickly removed the jacket.

As many of you pointed out, I am lucky to host these little Nuthatches. The parents have been fun to watch. They are so fast, and scold loudly whenever I get too near the box. What neat little birds they are.


Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2000 22:31:18 EDT
From: BluebirdNut"at"aol.com
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Pileated Woodpecker & Nuthatches Fledged!

Joanne Cox - Monroe, GA (45 miles east of Atlanta)

What an awesome day I have had! I was just dropping Gary Springer a note about spotting a Pileated Woodpecker swooping through my yard, when I looked out the window at my Nuthatch box and saw one of the nestlings exit the box and stand on the roof! I was still reeling from seeing the Pileated Woodpecker, then I see what was the beginning of the Brownheaded Nuthatches starting to fledge.

From about 11:00 to 8:00 this evening I spent the day outside with my binoculars and my telescope. My neighbors probably think I lost my mind.  The guy across the street was looking over at me and scratching his head. He was trying to figure out what I was looking at. (This was reported to me by my husband.) I watched four of the Nuthatches fledge over the 9-hour period of time. NINE HOURS?! I was out there NINE HOURS looking at birds?! Two are still in the box. I gave up at 8:00, when I saw a parent go in the box and then leave. I'll have to be up early in the morning to spot the last ones leaving. They were confusing me, because one or two of the fledglings flew back to the box and went back inside. They would follow a parent in. But, they quickly left again when the parent told them to get back out. :) I thought that once they left the box that they never went back to it. These guys did!

My back is killing me from bending over looking through the telescope eyepiece. But what a great day. How wonderful they fledged on a Saturday. I figured I would miss this excitement. What an awesome day!


Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000 01:09:54 -0500
From: "Fread Loane" To: "BLUEBIRD-L" Subject: Addie's question about Nuthatches

Virtually all things are named for a reason! Exploring the origin of words, is the science called Etymology. It is utterly fascinating to research the origin of words. It provides a deeper understanding and appreciation of the English language as well as the subject you research.

The word nuthatch comes from the ancient Middle English word 'nuthak' which meant "to alter". Hak would mean "to hack"......or to hack nuts. From Old French comes the word 'notehatche'. Here, the word 'note' would mean "nut" and "hatche" equals the word axe or hatchet.

Putting this together then would be a bird that "hacks" open "nuts". The nuthatch that I am most familiar with is the White-breasted (Sitta carolinensis). It is the largest of the four species in North America. They love the seed (or nuts) from Eastern White Pine, Mountain Ash, Beech, Maple, and Oaks. They simply cannot resist suet cakes or Black-oil Sunflower seed!

I think you are not correct when you mentioned the "Rose-breasted Nuthatch". This should be the Red-breasted (Sitta canadensis).

Fread J. Loane
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000 09:32:15 -0700
From: "W.Guglieri"
To: "Fread Loane" ,"BLUEBIRD-L"
Subject: Re: Addie's question about Nuthatches

...

Fread:

Our common Nuthatch here is the White Breasted Nuthatch, but I assume that their behaviors are all fairly common. Have you watched a Nuthatch eat a sunflower seed? They pick up a single seed, then fly off to the nearest branch, and bang, bang, bang it against the branch until it's open. So the reason for their name makes perfect sense to me.

Wendy Guglieri
Rescue, California
-in the Sierra Nevada foothills 40 mi. east of Sacramento-
wendyg"at"jps.net



Date: Sun, 05 Nov 2000 09:11:48 -0500
From: Wendell Long mrsimple"at"go-concepts.com
To: bluebird-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: How can I attract the Red-breasted Nuthatch

I am asking for ideas on how to go about attracting Red-breasted Nuthatch to my property here in southwestern Ohio, USA. What kind of box should I build and where should I place it-woods, field, yard, edges. What size hole? How high on what kind of tree or post. How can I keep the mice out. What should I feed them and what natural foods do they eat. I have good variety of birds, including the white-breasted, chickadee, titmouse, woodpeckers, etc but never see a Red-breasted the way I did when I lived in the city and one year one would come and eat stuff I put out. One thing I did then was to surround a suet log with a lobster trap wire cage to keep out the starling and the red-breasted would come on in thru the openings 11/4 inches approx. Am I in a bad location in general for the Red-breasted. Does anyone know if they are anywhere nearby--that is between Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio. How far south do they go and when. I am just full of questions since they made me stop writing poetry and typing smiley faces, now that the election is over. But having one red-breasted eating out of my had will make up for my loss.

This is a serious question here, so don't go giving me any those usual silly replies and telling redneck jokes again ok??? And thanks in advance for your help--I would like to report success within the month if possible.

So please HELP!!!!! Thanks again.

Wendell Long
Retired Poet
Waynesville, Ohio
Warren County
Sourthwestern Ohio between
Dayton and Cincinnati.

PS: anyone know when HP is coming out with it's new archival photo paper and ink? And how do you spell Archival?? I need continued leadership!

PSS: No barn owl has come to my barn owl box yet. I also put up an extra mailbox with front door removed for other cavity nesters, as yet nothing to report--except this place is beginning to look a mess. But the bride doesn't care, she is so happy I stopped writing poetry and moved on to more interesting and productive projects. I can do no wrong now!! She sent my pal, Jim a big check, but put it in the openended mailbox and a snakedoctor carried it off. I kid u not.


Date: Sun, 05 Nov 2000 10:32:20 -0600
From: mybuffy mybuffy"at"primary.net
To: mrsimple"at"go-concepts.com
Cc: bluebird-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: How can I attract the Red-breasted Nuthatch

According to the new Ntl. Audubon Soc. "The Sibley Guide to Birds", written and illustrated by David A. Sibley that I just purchased as a result of the recommendation of several on the list, the range is broad. According to the range map for the species, they can be found in the winter as far west as up to and including 1/3 of Co., as far north as part of Saskatchewan, Canada, all of Tx. to the SE coast excluding Fl., and as far East as all of Ohio and a small part of Pa. I have never seen the Red-breasted, but I do have the white-breasted. I will now be on the lookout.

Incidentally, the book is outstanding; and all I will ever need for birdwatching of which I am a novice at. Thanks. Lee in O'Fallon, Mo.

Wendell Long wrote:

I am asking for ideas on how to go about attracting Red-breasted Nuthatch
to my property here in southwestern Ohio, USA. What kind of box should I
build and where should I place it-woods, field, yard, edges. What size
hole? How high on what kind of tree or post. How can I keep the mice
out. What should I feed them and what natural foods do they eat. I have
good variety of birds, including the white-breasted, chickadee, titmouse,
woodpeckers, etc but never see a Red-breasted the way I did when I lived in
the city and one year one would come and eat stuff I put out. One thing I
did then was to surround a suet log with a lobster trap wire cage to keep
out the starling and the red-breasted would come on in thru the openings 1
1/4 inches approx. Am I in a bad location in general for the
Red-breasted. Does anyone know if they are anywhere nearby--that is
between Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio. How far south do they go and when. I
am just full of questions since they made me stop writing poetry and typing
smiley faces, now that the election is over. But having one red-breasted
eating out of my had will make up for my loss.

This is a serious question here, so don't go giving me any those usual
silly replies and telling redneck jokes again ok??? And thanks in advance
for your help--I would like to report success within the month if possible
So please HELP!!!!! Thanks again.

Wendell Long
Retired Poet
Waynesville, Ohio
Warren County
Sourthwestern Ohio between
Dayton and Cincinnati.

PS: anyone know when HP is coming out with it's new archival photo paper
and ink? And how do you spell Archival?? I need continued leadership!

PSS: No barn owl has come to my barn owl box yet. I also put up an extra
mailbox with front door removed for other cavity nesters, as yet nothing to
report--except this place is beginning to look a mess. But the bride
doesn't care, she is so happy I stopped writing poetry and moved on to more
interesting and productive projects. I can do no wrong now!! She sent my
pal, Jim a big check, but put it in the openended mailbox and a snakedoctor
carried it off. I kid u not.


Date: Sun, 05 Nov 2000 10:56:24 -0600
From: Kathleen Oschwald nestbox"at"1starnet.com
To: Bluebird-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: How can I attract the Red-breasted Nuthatch

I do not profess to being a red-breasted nuthatch expert, not having seen one since I left Minnesota in the spring of 1985, but I can relay my experiences.

I first saw one in the winter of 1984-1985 when I moved into a house which was at the edge of the woods (chiefly coniferous) and was essentially surrounded by trees. The previous owners had left a dish of dry dogfood on the back patio just outside the sliding glass doors, and it was soon eaten by Canada jays. Once the dog food was gone, I bought a bird feeder and some bird seed and set it right on the concrete exactly where the dog dish had been. One of the first birds that came to the seed was a red-breasted nuthatch, and it soon became one of my favorite birds.

My brother, who still lives in International Falls, raised a little red-breasted nuthatch who fell out of its nest last year. My father still talks about it sitting on his shoulder, and clinging upside down to the bill of his baseball cap looking at him. They released it successfully to the wild later in the season. They also live in the woods, so my guess is that you would have to put a feeder and/or nestbox very near a rather thickly wooded area to be successful in attracting them.=20

The bird books say they prefer coniferous forest, and that they can winter as far south as Texas, so you could certainly see them in the winter months. Their preferred food is seeds of conifers, but as I said I successfully attracted at least one to a feeder that winter, and apparently so have you at times.

Their breeding range however shows to be well to the north or west of you, but as we know breeding ranges gradually change as species adapt to existing conditions, man-made or otherwise.

Good luck in attracting one!

Kate Oschwald
Sumner, TX
100 mi NE of Dallas


Date: Sun, 5 Nov 2000 11:12:10 -0600
From: "Fread J. Loane" firefrost2"at"earthlink.net
To: bluebird-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: How can I attract the Red-breasted Nuthatch

Dear Wendell,

I shall try to answer some of your questions on the Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis). These birds (as their name implies) are truly a Canadian specie which occupies the southern half of Canada. Their range does include the sub alpine coniferous forests of the Northwest and the Northeast. Moreso than the rest of the family Sitta, S. canadensis is associated with coniferous forests interspersed with dead trees, where they will create/seek out cavities for nesting. Literature I read quoted an entrance hole preference of 1 and 1/4" and with a couple of inches of wood chips in the bottom of the nestbox. They prefer a height from 5' to 15' off the ground.

Your question concerning keeping the mice out of the nestbox may be answered by copying the unusual habits of S. canadensis of using pine/spruce/fir pitch around the entrance of the cavity to discourage predators!

S. canadensis has a diet rich in the seeds of conifers, along with various invertebrates. They have been reported to take sunflower seeds as well as suet.

It appears that you are on the edge of the southernmost habitat, however, much is written about this bird expanding its range southward. Interestingly, this is the only member of Sitta that has somewhat of a true migration pattern. More properly known as an "irruption", these irruptions seem to be timed with the production loss of cone bearing conifers but can occur at other times also. Some years S. canadensis does not even follow those rules, but chooses to stay put during the winters.


Date: Sun, 5 Nov 2000 13:26:52 EST
From: Dinlows"at"aol.com
To: mybuffy"at"primary.net, mrsimple"at"go-concepts.com
Cc: bluebird-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: How can I attract the Red-breasted Nuthatch

Hello all,

The little red-breasted nuthatch is really a sweet little bird. When we camp in Brown County, (Ind.) the red-breasted are around the camp sites. They have the same honk as the white-breasted only in miniature.

I don't have them here at my house, but my sister does and only lives a short distance away so I'm curious about what will draw them also.

Linda - Ind.


Date: Sun, 05 Nov 2000 14:42:09 -0500
From: Bill & Dot Forrester wforres1"at"twcny.rr.com
To: Dinlows"at"aol.com
Cc: mybuffy"at"primary.net, mrsimple"at"go-concepts.com, bluebird-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: How can I attract the Red-breasted Nuthatch

Here in the snowbelt on the east tip of Lake Ontario, we have one or two red-breasted nuthatches each winter. I can't tell what sex, though. We are at the edge of suburbia near fields, farms, and thin woods. These nuthatches eat suet but seem to prefer sunflower seeds from the hanging small-bird carousel feeder. I have never seen these birds in the summer. When fall comes, they magically appear when my feeders go up, and sometimes go in and out of the bluebird boxes before I've had a chance to take them down. They are extremely tame, and are one of the birds that I have to shoo away when shoveling snow from the feeder areas. They sound very much like a tiny, tinny bike horn that I had when I was little.

Dot


Date: Sun, 5 Nov 2000 17:41:22 EST
From: TomGaryH"at"aol.com
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: How can I attract the Red-breasted Nuthatch

Hi Wendell

Your 00-11-05 09:14:07 EST Bluebird-L post statesd, in part:

I am asking for ideas on how to go about attracting Red-breasted Nuthatch

Todd Tannery, Nestbox Coordinator, Rainier Audubon Society, put a page together at http://rainier.wa.audubon.org/bib/nestbox/chickadee-info.htm

Here's what he has to say:

Some of our most common, yet most overlooked, birds for attracting to the back yard are Chickadees, Bewick's Wrens and Red-breasted Nuthatches.

Black-capped Chickadees and their cousin, the Chestnut-backed Chickadees, are the easiest to attract to nest boxes. Liking lots of trees, this box can be mounted to a tree, about 5-7' from the ground and facing a sunny, but not over exposed area. Chickadees start nesting in late March and construct their nest of mosses and lichens, lining it with animal hair. Chickadee nests are probably one of the softest nests I've seen. Eggs: 6-8 are white with brown speckles. Incubation is 12 days and young fledge in about 16 days. Young Chickadees are a real treat to see soon after fledging. Watch the parents scurry them about your feeders teaching the youngsters to eat seeds. They are the cutest balls of fluff you'll ever see.

Red-breasted Nuthatches are a little harder to attract. They like a little more privacy than the others, but, with a few tips you have a good chance of attracting them. One GOOD start is having many good- size evergreens in your yard. Again, you can place this box onto a tree. The hole is small enough so a raccoon can't fit his paw inside. Dark or aged wood works well, but from my experience, bark works wonders on the sides of the box. Place it 5'-7' from the ground as well. April is the time you'll have them create a nest of moss, grasses and wood fibres. Eggs: 5-7 are white or slightly pink with brown speckles. Incubation is 12 days and fledging is about 19 days. Nuthatches have a unique habit of smearing "pitch" around the hole to deter predators.

Bewick's Wrens are among my favorite birds. Having scolding calls and a variety of musical songs, it is among the first to set up housekeeping. You can place this box anywhere there is ample cover. They love lots of bushes, trees and twig piles - the more the better. My most active Wren boxes are on the side of my house, under the eaves about 7' off the ground. My yard has several shrubs and twiggy trees for them to hop around, all the time "staging" their way closer and closer to the box and when close enough, pop in. It's a good idea to have more than one box as they like having choices on accommodations. The male will make several "dummy" nests of dark twigs and grasses. When the female is ready, she'll inspect the work and choose one to her liking. Eggs: 6-12 eggs, white with dark speckles. Incubation is 14 days and fledging is about 14 days.

Rainier Audubon nest boxes for these birds have a hole that is 1-1/8" around. This is perfect for the above birds and too small for destructive House Sparrows and Starlings who will evict birds from even an active nest to take the box for themselves. This box is also equipped with a side opening door for Fall clean up. I recommend having the boxes ready by late February with a thin layer of fresh cedar chips at the bottom to deter parasites and insects.

To purchase a Chickadee/Nuthatch/Wren box from Rainier Audubon: Come to our next membership meeting (meetings are open to the public) or send an e-mail to Todd Tannery at tet31964"at"aol.com

Tom
Fl panhandle, inland.


Date: 5 Nov 2000 23:34:48 -0000
From: "Stan Merrill, St. Paul, MN" stan_bb"at"Messagez.com
To: mrsimple"at"go-concepts.com
Cc: bluebird-L"at"cornell.edu, NatureSmrt"at"aol.com
Subject: Re:How can I attract the Red-breasted Nuthatch

Hi Wendell and EveryBIRDie!

No, Wendell, I won't waste your time with red-neck jokes. Will comment that for you to attract the red-breasted nuthatches, a good start would be to write some poetry for them! I'll give you a "money-back guarantee" on that, Wendell!

On the serious side, Stan Tekiela, in his BIRDS OF MINNESOTA, writes on page 70, Food - insects, seeds, will come to seed and suet feeders. The red-breasted nuthatch is "Common during some winters and scarce during others... Look for them in mature cnfiers, frequently extracting seeds from cones."

Bachman's Bird Seed Chart lists food preferences for nuthatches as seed mix, black-oil sunflower, sunflower hearts, peanut, suet, wheat, nectar; preferring a hopper-style feeder.

Good luck to a GREAT poet!

Happy birding!

Stan

***************************

On Sun, 05 Nov 2000 09:11:48 -0500 Wendell Long mrsimple"at"go-concepts.com wrote:

I am asking for ideas on how to go about attracting Red-breasted Nuthatch
to my property here in southwestern Ohio, USA. What kind of box should I
build and where should I place it-woods, field, yard, edges. What size
hole? How high on what kind of tree or post. How can I keep the mice
out. What should I feed them and what natural foods do they eat. I have
good variety of birds, including the white-breasted, chickadee, titmouse,
woodpeckers, etc but never see a Red-breasted the way I did when I lived in
the city and one year one would come and eat stuff I put out. One thing I
did then was to surround a suet log with a lobster trap wire cage to keep
out the starling and the red-breasted would come on in thru the openings 1
1/4 inches approx. Am I in a bad location in general for the
Red-breasted. Does anyone know if they are anywhere nearby--that is
between Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio. How far south do they go and when. I
am just full of questions since they made me stop writing poetry and typing
smiley faces, now that the election is over. But having one red-breasted
eating out of my had will make up for my loss.

This is a serious question here, so don't go giving me any those usual
silly replies and telling redneck jokes again ok??? And thanks in advance
for your help--I would like to report success within the month if possible.
So please HELP!!!!! Thanks again.

Wendell Long
Retired Poet
Waynesville, Ohio
Warren County
Sourthwestern Ohio between
Dayton and Cincinnati.


Date: Sat, 11 Nov 2000 14:25:04 EST
From: Tsapling"at"aol.com
Subject: re:red-breasted nuthatch (goldfinch, mourning dove)

According to Ortho's book "How to Attract Birds", feeds largely on pine seeds but attracted to raised feeders containing suet,  suet mixes, sunflower seed, safflower, and nutmeats, bakery goods, sugar  water. nest sites in bird houses- dimensions for nthatch generally: floor 4" by 4", height 8-10", hole 1.25",  hole should be 4-6" above floor height, box should be above ground by 6-10'

By the way, it shows a feeder to atract goldfinches where the perch is above  the hole in a feeder; and suggests a grit feeder for mourning doves.

Tina


Date: Sat, 10 Feb 2001 11:00:58 -0600
From: Nolan/Hunter Family dnolan"at"direclynx.net
To: bluebird BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: White-breasted Nuthatch & Tufted Titmouse

Merilyn Hunter, Hot Springs, Arkansas

I have had both White-breasted Nuthatches and Tufted Titmice nest in bird boxes mounted on trees in the past. Last spring I removed the houses on trees due to snakes being in our area and the possibility of predation. Neither bird nested in any pole mounted boxes last summer.

If anyone has had these birds nest in pole mounted bird boxes I wonder if you would share the details - style, hole size, where were they positioned, etc?


Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2001 22:16:22 -0400
From: "Gary Springer" springer"at"alltel.net
To: "BLUEBIRD-L" BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Cc: "Gary Springer" springer"at"alltel.net
Subject: Brown Headed Nuthatches

Because Easter is the day before the final day of the 2000 tax preparation season, I didn't get much of a holiday. Just a couple hours bird watching then back to the office to finish a few more returns.

But what a memorable experience it turned out to be.

For nearly an hour I watched the interaction of Eastern Bluebirds and Brown Headed Nuthatches at two nest boxes positioned about 50 feet apart.

The bluebirds have 5 eggs in their nest box and the nuthatches have what appears to be a completed nest but no eggs, yet.

All birds from both pairs spent the majority of the time at the Brown Headed Nuthatches box. At almost all times there were either bluebirds or nuthatches on top of or at the opening to the box.

The Bluebirds did everything but enter the box with the nuthatch nest in it. Often times both male and female bluebirds were inspecting the box, taking turns looking inside.

The much smaller nuthatch seemed little concerned by all the attention of the bluebirds.

I had never seen a Brown Headed Nuthatch before, but boy is it a cutie! In fact, I believe it may even rank higher in this department than the chickadee which is my long standing favorite. The pictures in my bird books do it no justice at all.

Another interesting thing is that all the books I have mention that both the White Breasted and Red Breasted Nuthatches nest in nest boxes but make no mention of use of nest boxes by the Brown Headed Nuthatch.

Is this uncommon?

Gary Springer

Writing from the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Northeast Georgia, further north than most of South Carolina and a bit of North Carolina.
www.realbirdhomes.com


Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2001 21:17:23 +0000
From: Paula P Good sistersinhim"at"juno.com
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: nuthatch

I had a nuthatch nest with 6 eggs in bb house. Something went in and killed the egg sitter. A few days later another nuthatch entered and destroyed a chickadee nest and eggs. Have these birds been a problem to any of you. I lost 2 female bb due to a cat and flying squirrel last year, but so far everything looks OK for them.


Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2001 12:45:32 -0400
From: DottyRogers"at"netscape.net
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: nuthhatch

Hi:

Could you give us all a little more information? --Where are you located and which species of nuthatch are you seeing? How did the dead "egg sitter" look; what sort of injuries had it suffered? --Did you see the nuthatch destroy the chickadee eggs?

All would be really heplful.

By the way, we've never had experience with white-breasted nutties doing harm to black-capped chickadees.

Good luck.

Dot; eastern MA

Thanks.


Date: Sat, 28 Apr 2001 11:42:53 +0000
From: Paula P Good sistersinhim"at"juno.com
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: nuthatch

Thank you for your inquiries. It was a white-breasted nuthatch that was killed. She was still on the nest and part of her head and stomach area had been eaten. The next day a saw a nuthatch pulling out the feathers and hair material and stuffing it down the pipe that the house, that the chickadees were using, was attached to. The eggs had been either pulled out or destroyed. I felt it was retaliation for the death of it's mate the day before. I haven't heard or seen the chickadees since. I still have the nutty running around, but no attempt to nest again.


From: "Stan, Apple Valley/St. Paul, MN [44.44N, -93.10W]" stan1bb"at"frontiernet.net
To: Afinechef"at"aol.com
Cc: "BB" BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu (BLUEBIRD-L)
Subject: Re: White-breasted Nuthatch
Date: Fri, 12 Apr 2002 18:56:12 -0500

Hi Donna and EveryBIRDie:

Although the Listserve is titled BLUEBIRD-L and 90% of our "Postings" are about bluebirds, as I understand it, all "cavity-nesting" birds are "on topic." Since your subjects are "on topic" for 3 out of 4, and I'm responding about your nuthatches, I'll post to the List.

Hal Harrison, in A FIELD GUIDE TO BIRD'S NESTS, comments on page 144: The white-breasted nuthatch usually nests "In natural cavity in tree, 15-50 ft. above ground; in old woodpecker hole, birdhouse. Cavity lined by female with bark shred, twigs, grasses, rootlets, fur, hair. Reported sometimes to excavate own cavity, but this considered rare or doubtful.

Eggs: 5-10, commonly 8, ...Incubation by female; reported to be 12 days. 1 brood. Pair bond may extend beyond 1 nesting season, or may even be permanent."

PB's (Philip A. Burns) QUICK INDEX TO BIRD NESTING shows 12 days for incubation; 14 common nesting period; 1 brood per season; 8 as common eggs per clutch.

In Stan Tekiela's BIRDS OF MINNESOTA, white-breasted nuthatches: 5-7 white eggs with brown markings; incubation: 11-12 days; female incubates; fledging: 13-14 days ; female and male feed young; food: insects, seeds, will come to seed and suet feeders.

Happy birding!

Stan

Though I remain a "bluebird wannabe," in addition to the "3-box trail" about 1 1/3 miles from here which I've "adopted," in our Townhomes of 23 units, we have an "island" (drive-around), which to me "might" be a bluebird possibility, though I don't always think like birds, I was granted permission by the Townhome Assn. Board to put up a bluebird nestbox. Nearby is a birch tree (for their "guarding" positioning) and lots of lawn area for their searching for insects. Anyway...time will tell.

Now for a "chickadee" question: You already know of my "luv" for chickadees, handfeeding, etc. This afternoon, a chickadee flew out of one of my nestboxes. And I understand that there is a difference of "personalities" from one bird to another, even of same species--I have experienced that with two different robins; but generally speaking, what has been your experience of "monitoring" chickadees--how much "peeking in" will they generally tolerate? As much as the bluebirds or not?

Thanks!

Stan
*******************
----- Original Message -----
From: Afinechef"at"aol.com
To: BLUEBIRD-L BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Sent: Thursday, April 11, 2002 8:27 PM
Subject: OT: Nuthatches, Mallards, EA BBs and a Pileated

| From: Donna in Central CT.
|
| Hi All,
|
| We're enjoying some "warm" (60s-70s) weather here in Connecticut-it's very
| welcome. The bluebirds are enjoying it as well, as a bluebird pair has
| started making a nest in one of my NABs type boxes just today! What a joy to
| see them working together. He's guarding the nest for all he's worth, and
| wing-waving her back when she's returning from collecting nesting material
| from the woods.
|
| I'm also thrilled to have white-breasted nuthatches nesting in another of my
| bluebird boxes (about 75 feet from the one the bluebirds are using). The
| nest is so cute; it's made of small wood chips, some twigs, and soft fur in
| the nest cup. No eggs that I can see yet, but Mrs. Nuthatch was sitting on
| the nest at sunset last night, so maybe she's starting to lay.
|
| Also, I have had a pair of mallards on my pond since March 15th. They are
| also beautiful to watch. They come into my backyard fo corn, and yesterday
| they didn't fly back into the pond when I went outside to feed them! I hope
| they are getting used to me.
|
| Mr. Pileated spent hours in our trees today. He's a spectacular sight, being
| in full Spring regalia.
|
| Questions:
| 1) Where can I find out about the nesting habits of nuthatches? I'm
| wondering about appropriate monitoring, how many eggs in a clutch, incubation
| period, etc.
| 2) Does anyone know where I can find out about the nesting habits of
| mallards?
|
| Thanks to all,
| Donna in Central CT. (Marlborough)


From: "Karen Louise Lippy" brdbrain"at"superpa.net
To: mrtony8"at"mchsi.com
Cc: "BLUEBIRD-L" BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: White-breasted Nuthatch
Date: Sat, 13 Apr 2002 09:55:25 -0400

Phil,
That's an interesting note. I didn't know nuthatches also had "helpers" at the nest. This used to be believed to be quite rare, but it seems as we monitor nest boxes, we are learning it is more common than previously thought for yourn or unmated birds to assist others.

It amdes sense that they would benefit by learning from an experienced couple and be better prepared to manage their own nests when they finally strike out on their own. Plus it is possible that if something happened to one of the mated pair, the "extra" bird could step in and fill the void.
Birds sure are amazing, aren't they?
Karen from South Central PA

----- Original Message -----
From: Phil Berry
To: stan1bb"at"frontiernet.net ; Afinechef"at"aol.com
Cc: BLUEBIRD-L
Sent: Saturday, April 13, 2002 8:30 AM
Subject: Re: White-breasted Nuthatch

A quick comment on the nuthatch: often, there appears to be 3 adults at the nest. this is true. the third bird will be a male who was not lucky at love. no mate. so he will help out a pal by assisting the lucky pair at feeding and raising their babies. at least the brown headed nuthatch does this.
Phil Berry
Gulf Breeze, Florida

-------Original Message-------

From: stan1bb"at"frontiernet.net
Date: Friday, April 12, 2002 7:06:35 PM
To: Afinechef"at"aol.com
Cc: BB
Subject: Re: White-breasted Nuthatch

...


From: "Gary Springer" springer"at"alltel.net
To: "BLUEBIRD-L" BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Cc: "Gary Springer" springer"at"alltel.net
Subject: protecting chickadees and nuthatches
Date: Sun, 21 Apr 2002 00:32:05 -0400

Dear Phil,

As with chickadees and tufted titmice, the entrance hole should be reduced to at least inch and a quarter when Brown-Headed nuthatches nest in a bluebird box with an inch and a half diameter entrance hole.

For chickadees it is best to wait until all eggs are laid because chickadees sometimes abandon a nest if the hole is reduced earlier.

But, I experimented this year with putting reducers on the holes before Brown-headed Nuthatch eggs were laid and they proceeded to lay eggs in both nest attempts with the inch and a quarter hole reducers in place.

Gary Springer


Date: Sat, 11 May 2002 15:06:16 -0700
From: Hatch Graham birdsfly"at"innercite.com
To: Afinechef"at"aol.com, Emily Harbison deb"at"cin.butte.cc.ca,
Dick Purvis dickersly"at"aol.com, Garth Harwood
GarthHar"at"aol.com,
Glen Chappell chappell"at"chs.chaffey.k12.ca.us,
Jean & Howard Rathlesberger Rathlesberger"at"email.msn.com,
Kevin Putman dputman"at"syix.com,
Lesa McDonald-Chan "habitat""at"jps.net (Lesac),
Tom Hoffman thoffman"at"lodinet.com, Jan Wasserman
bandlady"at"west.net,
Ann Kositsky ajpa"at"pacbell.net, Warren Engstrom
wlese"at"juno.com,
Don Yoder cbrp"at"value.net, Oscar Enstrom bigo"at"lanset.com,
Judith Burkhardt "burkhardtpaul""at"thegrid.net.3,
Richard Willey willey"at"utech.net, Nanda Currant
hearth"at"cruzio.com,
Melanie Allen Truan mltruan"at"ucdavis.edu,
Dave Delongchamp selkaijen"at"jps.net,
Dee E Warenycia warbler5"at"aol.com, Kevin Putman
dputman"at"syix.com,
Janet King kingfarm"at"sonic.net, Susan Yasuda
syasuda"at"fs.fed.us,
Barry Baba bbaba"at"teichert.com, Ray DiBasilio
raydib"at"d-web.com,
Howard Rathlesberger HJRath"at"aol.com,
Max Grandfield Granny4nan"at"aol.com, Hans Arp
Harps5008"at"aol.com,
Lane Eubank eubankl"at"iconus.com, Don Yoder cbrp"at"value.net
CC: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: White-breasted Nuthatch tolerance to disturbance

Hi Donna:
You mentioned your son being told not to ride his bike too close to the nuthatch nestbox. Here in Eldorado County, CA, there is a 5-acre parcel called Bluebird Haven Iris Gardens run by Mary Hess. The grounds are open for a few weeks every Spring for the sale of iris. Mary & husband John and kids Erin & Eric have a lovely place and in keeping with their name have about a dozen nestboxes around the perimeter. I usually have a table publicizing California Bluebird Recovery Program set up on Mother's Day when hundreds of visitors pour in. In 2000, I suggested we put up another nestbox in the central part of the area next to the Gazebo where she and her helpers take orders for the iris. A half-dozen picnic tables are set up nearby and folks have their lunch and often a bottle of wine from the neighboring vineyard. Last Mother's Day, 2001, the nestbox was occupied by a family of White-breasted Nuthatches with 8 nestlings about 2 weeks old. With people driving by every 10 minutes about 10 feet away, visitors walking by 6 feet away, people gabbing in the gazebo 15 feet way, mom and pop nuthatches kept returning with bills full of bugs every 2.5 to 3 minutes. I clocked them; first one would pop in and a half minute later the second would be there; 2.5 minutes later (give or take 30 seconds) the first one would be back followed by the other. They would land about 20 feet up in the young ponderosa pine, walk headfirst down the trunk, spring to a limb 2 feet from the box, land on the box at the entry, then pop in for about 15 seconds. As far as I could tell they were too busy feeding to pay any attention to the crowds. I'm a licensed Master birdbander, so I took the 8 nestlings out into my carrying bag, banded them and returned them (one at a time as banded) to the nestbox. The procedure takes 5 minutes total. Both parents were waiting in the tree with their offerings when I finished. Within 30 seconds, the first was in the box. As she left, the other entered. A half hour later, when I had a break from my table, I waited till one of the adults went into the box, stepped up from 15 feet away, covered the hole, opened the side door and brought out the adult. From her brood patch I identified her as the female. I released her and she flew off. About 15 minutes later, I repeated the procedure. I caught the hen again--already banded. Within 3 minutes, I tried again and had the male. Yesterday, 5/10, the television crew from the local PBS station came to film the activities at the iris gardens for California Heartland hosted by George Reading. I was asked to give a little talk on cavity-nesters and the need for nestboxes. I incorporated my banding activities in the talk after ascertaining that the nuthatches were back. Again, they had 8 healthy chicks; I banded them on camera; and the cameraman, just 10 feet from the nest, recorded one of the banded parents coming in afterward, bill filled with tasty morsels. A few minutes later, I recaptured both adults, again about 2 minutes apart, read their bands and verified they were last year's birds.

I won't suggest your son should be too busy around the box when your birds are nestbuilding and egg-laying but now the young arrived, I wouldn't hesitate to let him go back to his bike riding.

By the way, I'll be back at my table selling birdhouses (in concept and actuality) tomorrow at Bluebird Haven Iris Gardens.

Happy Mother's Day,
Hatch Graham

Afinechef"at"aol.com wrote:

From: Donna in Marlborough, CT [excerpt]

I'm thrilled to report that all seven white-breasted
nuthatch eggs have hatched! My 14 yr. old son, who was formerly a
little put out by the nuthatches nesting too close to one of his
favorite biking spots, (thereby restricting his biking activities),
....


From: Afinechef"at"aol.com
Date: Thu, 16 May 2002 19:19:43 EDT
Subject: Need Help with Nuthatches
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu

Hi All,

More on the whole story later, but for now I'm in big time need of assistance:

I have four ten-day old white-breasted nuthatch hatchlings that I'm currently responsible for. A male HOSP killed the other three and pecked these four but a local rehabber worked on them and they're alive and doing pretty well.  The HOSP was relentless even though my son or I stood guard over the nuthatch nest all day. He got in and injured the remaining nuthatches one by one until none were completely unharmed. The parent nuthatches were frantic but could not withstand the onslaught.

The rehabber is not available tomorrow and so has given me back the four babies. She instructed me to feed them by syringe (she showed me how) with a formula she gave me every 45 minutes until about 9 pm tonight. I also have her incubator. Guys, I am completely out of my element here, and don't even know exactly how much to feed the babies each feeding.

Anyone out there who can give me advice?

I put up a third bluebird house to try and appease the HOSP but he wasn't having any of my shenanigans. In desperation I moved the nuthatch nest to
the other new house but the nuthatches wouldn't go near it, even when I put the two healthiest babies back in the original nest in the new house. The nuthatch parents keep going to the old house, which is now empty.

My husband asks if we can put the four 10 day old nuthatches in the with five seven day old bluebird hatchlings. Both the EABB parents are alive and doing well. The last thing I want to do is jeopardize what is currently a successful bluebird nesting! However, factor in the fact that my husband and I don't really know what we're doing!

I am going to let the HOSP take over the new house and then trap him with a Van Ert that my friend loaned me.

Please answer ASAP as I'm in over my head here!

Thank you!


From: "Gary Springer" springer"at"alltel.net
To: "BLUEBIRD-L" BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Cc: "Gary Springer" springer"at"alltel.net
Subject: White Breasted Nuthatch-roosting/nesting?
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 2003 20:29:36 -0500

Gary Springer Carnesville, Georgia February 21,2001

At about 5:00 PM of this cool, damp and cloudy late February day, while on the telephone talking about birds and gazing out the window, I observed a pair of Eastern Bluebirds preventing a pair of Carolina Chickadees from investigating a nestbox despite several advances by the chickadees toward the box..

This type of interaction between these two species is relatively common in late February but it most often occurs during the mid-morning hours of warmer sunny days, almost never during cool, damp, and cloudy days, especially when the already low light has begun to slowly dwindle towards darkness..

Even though chickadees can not compete with the much larger bluebirds for nestboxes, these chickadees will almost certainly nest in one of the nest boxes on the property only because I've placed nestboxes far more closely than bluebirds prefer to nest.

My attention was suddenly diverted away from the chickadees and bluebirds to a bright red male cardinal sitting on a sweet gum sapling 20 feet from my window beside what appeared at first glance to be a piece of white tissue paper dangling from a branch. But, how could a piece of tissue paper be out in my yard let alone ten feet off the ground in a tree branch? The cardinals nesting material?

Then I realized the bright white object was a large piece of crumpled egg shell which had stuck to the branch after an egg had splattered in the tree on an errant throw from my deck intended for my garden where it was supposed to enrich the soil then eventually fortify my summer tomatoes with calcium.

The cardinal broke off a small piece of egg shell and parted.

Then, a white breasted nuthatch landed on a second nestbox, which at about 15 feet high is the highest nestbox mounted in the open part of the property, and which is located about fifteen feet from the sapling with the egg shell hanging from its branch.

In typical nuthatch fashion, it walked headfirst down from the roof straight into the nestbox entrance hole.

While the nuthatch was in the nest box, a second cardinal, a female, flew to the piece of egg shell dangling in the small tree and it too broke off a piece of the shell and flew away with the white speck in its bill.

A moment after the second cardinal left, the nuthatch exited the nestbox landed in the same sapling and in a couple short spurts of flight, perched above the same scrap of egg shell from which it too attempted to take a piece. But, while attempting to break off a piece with its bill, a small piece of the eggshell fell towards the ground. The nuthatch very gracefully dove from its perch straight down , caught the falling piece of egg shell in midair about four feet from where it had fallen, then flew towards the nearby forest.

A few moments later a nuthatch entered the box again in exactly the same fashion as I had just described.

Several minutes passed, I did not see the bird exit the box, and the telephone conversation continued until I forgot all about the bird. But, when it was near dark, I noticed there seemed to be something visible just inside the entrance hole.

Because the nestbox was too close to the window to focus onto using my ten power binoculars, I increased the distance by moving to the side of the room opposite the window and was thus finally able to see that the object was indeed the nuthatch peering out the nestbox entrance hole.

My guess is that, for now, it is using the nestbox only for roosting.

But, is it likely this nuthatch will also nest in the nestbox which it is now using for a roost?

Or, is this activity similar to that of a tufted titmouse which in my experience does not typically nest in the same cavity which it repeatedly uses for winter roosting?

Gary Springer,

Writing from the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Northeast Georgia, further north than most of South Carolina and a bit of North Carolina. 34.3473N, 83.3376W

Real Bird Homes.Com www.realbirdhomes.com


From: "Rudy Benavides" rbenavid"at"hotmail.com
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: White Breasted Nuthatch-roosting/nesting?
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 2003 23:18:10 -0500

Gary,

Cornell's Birdhouse Network indicates that the female white-breasted nuthatch is the nest builder. Maybe if your nuthatch is a female, she'll stick around and use the box for nesting. But if it's a male, the chances are he's in there for a short duration. I would try to id the sex at this time, looking for a gray cap on female vs black cap on male.... probably easier said than done.

-Rudy
Maryland
------------------------
From: "Gary Springer" springer"at"alltel.net
Reply-To: springer"at"alltel.net
To: "BLUEBIRD-L" BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
CC: "Gary Springer" springer"at"alltel.net
Subject: White Breasted Nuthatch-roosting/nesting?
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 2003 20:29:36 -0500

...


From: "Gary Springer" springer"at"alltel.net
To: "Rudy Benavides" rbenavid"at"hotmail.com,
"BLUEBIRD-L" BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Cc: "Gary Springer" springer"at"alltel.net
Subject: Re: White Breasted Nuthatch-roosting/nesting?
Date: Sat, 22 Feb 2003 01:45:35 -0500

Hi Rudy,

I just learned that the Stokes guide, Bird Behavior Volume II, doesn't state whether or not the female white breasted nuthatch will build a nest in the cavity it uses for its own winter roost when breeding season arrives. But, it does state::

"Sometimes a female takes over a male roost hole in late winter and early spring, and that hole may become the nest hole for the breeding season"

Gary Springer


From: "Rudy Benavides" rbenavid"at"hotmail.com
To: springer"at"alltel.net, BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: White Breasted Nuthatch-roosting/nesting?
Date: Sat, 22 Feb 2003 07:51:05 -0500

"Sometimes a female takes over a male roost hole in late winter and
early spring, and that hole may become the nest hole for the breeding
season"

Gary,

That's interesting, thanks. After I wrote my post last night I wondered about what nuthatch nesting behavior might be like. This is what the Cornell Birdhouse Network has to say about the nesting behavior of white-breasted nuthatches, bluebirds, and tufted titmice:

W-B Nuthatch - "The female begins nestbuilding in April. During this time, the pair stays in close association, frequently giving contact calls to one another. The male occassionally feeds the female and continues to do so throughout egg-laying incubation."

E. Bluebird - "The male initiates selecting the nest site by "showing" the female several possible sites. The female may begin to build nests in several sites, but eventually she decides on a site and concentrates her efforts there."

T. Titmouse - "The male feeds the female from the time they begin building the nest until the eggs hatch."

As you can see, not much is said about nest introduction/selection for the nuthatch or the titmouse. It would be interesting to find out, if you do have a female roosting in the box, what she decides to do. Also, if you have a male, whether a female will eventually be attracted to occupy the nestbox.

Rudy
Maryland


From: "Phil Berry" phil4643"at"msn.com
To: springer"at"alltel.net, BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: White Breasted Nuthatch-roosting/nesting?
Date: Sat, 22 Feb 2003 07:41:34 -0600

Gary,
My brown headed nuthatches are hanging around and possibly roosting in the nestbox in my yard. we had a successful fledging of 6 of them from that box last year. they MAY be the same ones i see now. i am hoping they do use it for nesting purposes. they are a very neat bird, and for their size, great fighters. last season saw them fighting bluesbirds for the box. and they won!! these birds are very gregarious, and by seasons end were tame enough to eat out of my hand.
Phil Berry

Gulf Breeze, Florida

From: "Gary Springer" springer"at"alltel.net
Reply-To: springer"at"alltel.net
To: "BLUEBIRD-L" BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
CC: "Gary Springer" springer"at"alltel.net
Subject: White Breasted Nuthatch-roosting/nesting?
Date: Fri, 21 Feb 2003 20:29:36 -0500

...


From: DottyRogers"at"netscape.net
Date: Sat, 22 Feb 2003 09:40:05 -0500
To: BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: white-breasted nutties

We have white-breasted nuthatches using bluebird/tree swallow boxes as winter roosting boxes, but have never had them attempt a nesting in same. The one successful nuttie nesting effort was in a tree-mounted box. Mice got into that box the following season, chewed the heads off nestling TRES; (no nutties that yr); we removed the box.

Dot


From: "Gary Springer" springer"at"alltel.net
To: "BLUEBIRD-L" BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu
Cc: "Gary Springer" springer"at"alltel.net
Subject: Brown-Headed nuthatches/Small cavity nesting birds
Date: Sat, 22 Feb 2003 11:38:38 -0500

Gary Springer Carnesville, Georgia February 22, 2003

The brown-headed nuthatch, although one of the most enjoyable birds to observe in the southeastern part of the country, is one species of cavity nesting birds that is largely ignored by conservationists. This is unfortunate because, like the bluebird, it accepts nestboxes readily when placed in its habitat.

However, like many cavity nesting birds that are smaller than the bluebirds, they are not getting much help from nest box landlords who typically place nest boxes far enough apart so that the larger and stronger bluebirds nest in most of the boxes. As a result the plight of the smaller birds, many of which are experiencing exactly the same type of nesting site shortages as are bluebirds, is largely ignored by conservationists.

In fact, even after nesting begins, it takes a bit more effort to assist these smaller cavity nesting song birds than it does to assist the bluebird because it seems most of them prefer the same hole size as the bluebird. Therefore, the hole needs to be reduced to a smaller size after incubation begins to prevent the larger cavity nesting birds from ousting the smaller ones, an activity that bluebirds engage in more and more frequently as nesting cavities become scarcer and scarcer.

It also seems reasonable that given the practice of spacing nest boxes far enough apart so that bluebirds might use all of them, the smaller cavity nesting songbirds that typically begin nest building earlier than bluebirds, are less likely to use nest boxes because experience over time has taught them that there is little chance for nesting success in a nest box because they are nearly always expelled by bluebirds. These smaller birds also receive strong and timely reinforcement that nesting in nestboxes is not a successful strategy for them because they are continuously and easily driven away from nest boxes by bluebirds even when investigating boxes for potential nest sites.

The increasing rate at which chickadees, titmice, Carolina wrens and nuthatches nest in my nest boxes certainly seems to indicate that these birds will use nestboxes more frequently when using them is a successful strategy instead of an unsuccessful one.

It appears the brown-headed nuthatch uses nest boxes much more readily than the white-breasted nuthatch, maybe because there are far fewer cavities located in the preferred habitat of the brown-headed nuthatch than there are in the preferred habitat of the white-breasted nuthatch.

The habitat of the brown-headed nuthatch seems very specific. In my experience it strongly prefers open or park like habitat with stands of mature pine trees, normally near lakes, ponds. and other bodies of water..

The brown-headed nuthatch spends a lot of time foraging in the tops of pine trees amongst the green needles and cones where it finds its preferred diet of insects and pine seeds. This bird also typically uses the wings of these seeds to line its nest which results in an amazingly soft nest cup.

On the other hand, the white-breasted nuthatch is equally, maybe even more at home in hardwood forests, the living trees of which more readily develop knot holes than do living pine trees, thus making natural nest cavities much more available to the white-breasted nuthatch.

Those of you who live outside of the range of the brown-headed nuthatch are really missing something special. Though it isn't obvious from photos of this bird, it rivals or exceeds the black-capped chickadee in "cuteness".

It has a high pitch squeaky voice that it continually delivers as it forages in the tops of pine trees. These calls sound exactly like the small plastic dolls of the sixties, the ones that squeak when you squeeze them and squeak again with a slightly lower pitch when you release the pressure.

If your travels take you into the southeast and you find yourself in a lakeside park with a lot of pine trees, listen for its squeaky calls and you may catch a glimpse of this seldom noticed but wonderful tiny bird which often hangs upside down on pine cones as they probe between the cone scales with their bills as they search out pine seeds for consumption or nest material..

Because the brown-headed nuthatch so readily uses nestboxes and because cavities are typically scarce in the habitat it prefers, I believe the small populations of this tiny bird which is so enjoyable to watch can be easily increased significantly by placing nestboxes, not on trees where predators will take most of them, but instead on metal poles within the habitat described.

Gary Springer

Writing from the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Northeast Georgia, further north than most of South Carolina and a bit of North Carolina. 34.3473N, 83.3376W

One awesome bluebird book: The Bluebird Monitor's Guide
Most extensive source of Bluebird information on line:
http://audubon-omaha.org/bbbox/bestofbbml/bblindx.htm
Real Bird Homes www.realbirdhomes.com
Chigger Stopper www.chiggerstopper.com 


Date: Mon, 7 Apr 2003 19:05:22 -0700 (PDT)
From: Kathy Rauschenberg kathy_scottud90"at"yahoo.com
Subject: Bluebirds & Brown-headed nuthatches
To: BLUEBIRD bluebird-l"at"cornell.edu

For the past two years, I've had a bluebird house in my backyard and since then have had 2 nests each year -- a total of 10 baby bluebirds have fledged. It's been very enjoyable. Last fall, my parents bought me a smaller, hanging house that is supposed to be used by chickadees, nuthatches or smaller birds like that.  I didn't have any activity last year, but this spring several birds were checking it out (it's in my front yard hanging on a maple tree). I checked it out one day to see if anyone had claimed it, and low and behold a nest was beginning and it looked very familiar! Yes, a bluebird pair claimed it, built a
nest and are now incubating 3 eggs, set to hatch any day. I thought surely the house was too small, and it is not as deep as the one in our backyard, but I see the female bluebird flying in and out with no problems, so hopefully, everything will be ok for the baby bluebirds. Then, in the backyard, a brown-headed nuthatch (the size of a chickadee and almost as cute!), began building a nest in the "bluebird" house. The pair filled it with shavings from my birch tree, along with other material (feathers, etc..) and they now have a complete nest. It has been a couple of weeks, and no eggs, however, just a few days ago another female bluebird has decided she would like the house. She is flying to the house, standing on top, going in and out of the hole (not all the way in, but checking it out), and looks like she is declaring it hers. The nuthatches have been protecting it vigorously from other birds (for such a small bird, they are really aggressive). They are flying in an around the house, letting the bluebird know they were there first, but she doesn't seem to care. The other night, they were both "screaming" at each other for a pretty long period. Not sure who won -- they were in the trees -- not at the house. Anyway, this is new for me and interesting, so thought I'd share. I'm going to wait and see what happens. I don't know much about brown-headed nuthatches, so I've been reading what I can. It looks like they only have one brood per year, but at this rate, I'm not sure they will even have one -- at least in the bluebird house. We'll see... 

Kathy Rauschenberg
Alpharetta, GA


Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2003 16:23:21 -0700 (PDT)
From: Fred Dietrich fdietrich"at"yahoo.com
Subject: Bluebirds & Brown-headed nuthatches
To: bluebirds and cavity-nesting birds BLUEBIRD-L"at"cornell.edu

I have had brown headed nuthatches in my yard for 8 years now and they have usually nested twice a year and 3 times once. They use a nest box with a 1 1/8" entrance hole and the box is about 30' from a bluebird box that is always in use. They have a couple of spats in Feburary as each pair checks out the other box but none after that.

Fred Dietrich
Tallahassee, FL


Date: Wed, 09 Apr 2003 13:55:30 -0700
From: Linda Violett lviolett"at"earthlink.net
To: Bluebird-L"at"cornell.edu
Subject: Re: Bluebirds & Brown-headed nuthatches

Linda Violett - Yorba Linda, Calif.

If you have Nuthatches building a nest in Bluebird-sized box, please reduce the hole ASAP to protect the Nuthatches. Then add a different Bluebird-sized box for Bluebirds. Why would you want to "Wait to see what happens" when Nuthatches are being challenged by the bigger Bluebirds????


From: Nancy C. Hebb [mailto:Fencroft"at"msn.com]
Sent: Friday, June 25, 2004 9:25 PM
Subject: O/T: Nuthatches

Will white breasted nuthatches raise more than one brood?  One was collecting nesting material off a mossy roof and tree here today.  I wondered if they were starting a second nesting, a first, or if something had happened to a first and they were starting anew.  They must be in a natural cavity 'cause they're not in any nearby boxes.... Nancy in Michigan


From: mrtony8 [mailto:mrtony8"at"cox.net]
Sent: Sunday, November 14, 2004 8:36 AM
Subject: Re: House wren deterrent

I have nuthatches every year, but brown headed, which do not put resin anywhere near a nesting site, that I know of. They seem able to take care of themselves though. I have seen them successfully defend their nest. Phil Berry



From: Elizabeth Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Sunday, November 14, 2004 9:00 AM
Subject: RE: House wren deterrent

What kind of box, size hole and what location are you getting them to nest in?

From: mrtony8 [mailto:mrtony8"at"cox.net]
Sent: Sunday, November 14, 2004 5:21 PM
Subject: Re: House wren deterrent

They nest in regular bb houses, but are very delicate birds. Their nest is practically non-existent, they dig into the floor of the box, ala woodpeckers, and use the sawdust for a nest. You must be very careful when opening these boxes, and i normally won't do so until the babies are over a week old. Also, I put a 7/8 " restrictor on the hole as soon as I am sure they are nesting. This keeps out intruders. Phil Berry


From: lviolett [mailto:lviolett"at"earthlink.net]
Sent: Monday, November 15, 2004 1:23 AM
Subject: Re: Nuthatches

Linda Violett - Yorba Linda/Big Bear, Calif.

Bet, I've had White Breasted Nuthatches nest on the mountain trail. Box was hanging about 12 feet up, 2-holed (1.25") with 5x5 floors and wooden face guard. The box had been built (intended) for Mountain Chickadees and the 1.25" holes were probably a bit too small for WBNU.  One of the nestlings was left in the box after the others had fledged with some damage to its feathers which could have been caused by its going to the hole and backing down.  It had to spend time with a rehabber.

From: T Williams [mailto:tawword "at"yahoo.com]
Sent: Monday, April 04, 2005 6:07 PM
To: BLUEBIRD-L "at"cornell.edu
Subject: I am a new member -- with brown-headed nuthatches

Hi - I just joined this e-mail group today, and I'm new to corresponding about being a bird-lover. But I found the Cornell site while trying to learn more about brown-headed nuthatches. I discovered they are on Audubon's watchlist for endangered birds.

Early March, I hung a wren house in my front yard, hoping to attract Carolina wrens that have been feeding in my backyard, but brown-headed nuthatches have nested instead. They are such delightful little birds! Even though I am a native North Carolinian, and brown-headed nuthatches are reportedly not uncommon here, I have rarely seen them in the past.

I have had several eastern bluebird nestings in the past few years, but these are my first nuthatches.

Here is where I need help: I have sparrows feeding in the backyard, and I fear for my nuthatches' safety. Also, year before last, I found a black snake in the bluebird house (killed him). I want to protect my nuthatches from sparrows and snakes. Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance,

Terri Williams
Charlotte, NC



From: Jimmy Dodson [mailto:rocks_and_flies "at"hotmail.com]
Sent: Monday, April 04, 2005 6:41 PM
Subject: RE: I am a new member -- with brown-headed nuthatches

Terri,

Congrats on the BHNU's. Though they are uncommon throughout much of their
depicted range, they are prevalent in some areas, as they tend to be pretty
habitat specific birds -- the Cornell info is good about describing the
habitats they frequent. What's the area around you house like --
predominantly pine? any/how many hardwoods? How big? Give a little more
description of the site if you would.

If you want more info on brown-hd nut's, search for the NC Partners in
Flight website. They have a fairly new species info sheet on the BHNU, as
well as other birds, how to improve the wildlife value of your
yard/neighborhood, and lots of other info. BHNU's are on the priority watch
list for PIF in NC as well as the Audubon list. We've had BHNU's in natural
cavities in pine areas on some of the college forests in the past, and they
are really fun to watch and keep tabs on.

As for the sparrow issue... are they House sparrows or other species of
sparrows? That'll make a difference along the avenues you can pursue if
needs arise. Nuthatches as a whole tend to be pretty bossy towards other
birds, but most sparrows just ignore them -- we don't have house sparrows on
the forests we use nestboxes on, but NU's interact with white-throated sp's,
field, song, and chipping sparrows, especially at feeders. For the most
part most sparrows just move around the NU's (we have white-breasted,
brown-headed, and red-breasted), but the white-throated sparrows don't
budge. The native sparrows I listed above don't do much (if anything) with
cavities and boxes around here, so HOSP are what you'd have to worry about.

As for killing the black (blk rat snake I'm presuming) snake... try not to
do so in the future. It's just trying to make a living too, and if there
aren't predator guards up to ward them off, it's going to happen. Black rat
snakes (and black racers) make a good living on lots of small invert &
vertebrates like mice, rabbits, nestlings, frogs, toads, salamanders, bugs,
etc. We observed one (and pointed it out the the undergrad student classes
last summer) that was 50 feet up a yellow poplar tree and making it's way up
to a nest that was about 80 feet up. With no help from us, the parents (Sum
tanagers) foiled the attempt and the snake was given a quick ticket to the
ground, where it went on its' merry way. They are non-venomous and very
beneficial. If you aren't comfotable moving them, try to find someone who
will -- they do bite (especially females), and it can be painful, but they
aren't a "threat" to us. My suggestion in this department is to employ a
predator guard(s) of some kind to prevent it in the future.

One last question... how's your wren house "hung"?

Hope this helps. --J



From: mrtony8 [mailto:mrtony8 "at"cox.net]
Sent: Monday, April 04, 2005 7:51 PM
Subject: Re: I am a new member -- with brown-headed nuthatches

I raise them every year. The nest is tenuous at best, so I do not monitor once i am certain eggs are laid. Just let them have their way and you won't be disappointed. IN a BB box I add a restrictor to keep larger birds away. Watch for predators any they will do fine. If your box is made to open, do not do so, the "nest" will blow away in the wind.
For those who do not know the BHNU, the call sounds like a dog's squeaky toy.
Phil Berry
Pensacola, Florida



From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder "at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2005 8:50 AM
Subject: Keeping House sparrows out of nuthatch nestbox

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas
Brown Headed nuthatches are also smaller than the House Sparrows so a 1&1/8"
round hole would exclude them from entering the nestbox. Some House Sparrows
can enter a thin entrance 1&3/16" round hole so these must be precisely no
larger than 1&1/8"! I believe the Brown Headed can easily enter a 1" round
hole. You can always add a hole restrictor to the front of the nestbox if
the hole is too large. Try to stay with about the same color of wood for the
replacement or add on.



From: mrtony8 [mailto:mrtony8 "at"cox.net]
Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2005 10:04 AM
Subject: Re: Keeping House sparrows out of nuthatch nestbox

I use a 7/8" restrictor for BHNU, as i have personally witnessed HOSP squeeze through a hole that size, although I don't think it common. This one got OUT of my holding pen with a 7/8" opening. Apparently they do what they have to do.
Phil Berry


From: MJShearer [mailto:eshearer "at"comcast.net]
Sent: Sunday, April 10, 2005 10:05 AM
Subject: Re: Blue Sunday
...

Although my bluebirds completed their nest well over a week ago,the female laid her first egg this week.

The Brown-headed Nuthatch began incubating her five eggs a few days ago, but my chickadees stopped building about a week ago after starting nests in two nest boxes. The male BHNU is very
protective of his territory, so I suspect he may have had something to do with the CACH's abandoning their nests for now -- although they still come to the feeder. ...

[Mary Jane Shearer; Tucker, GA]


From: Nina Everett [mailto:NINAUT"at"CHARTER.NET]
Sent: Tuesday, April 26, 2005 5:42 PM
Subject: Re: Weather disaster

My daughter had what she thinks was a nuthatch build a nest in her bluebird box. There were four eggs and something killed the bird and distroyed the eggs. Are nuthatch eggs pink? She has been so upset over this. Didn't see what happened. They cleaned out the box but haven't seen any birds interested in it since. There had been a bluebird sitting on that box before the nuthatches took it and hung around for quite a while before finally leaving. This is a new experience for her as well as for me. We are both trying to learn.
Nina


From: Afinechef"at"aol.com [mailto:Afinechef"at"aol.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 26, 2005 5:57 PM
Subject: Re: Weather disaster

Hi Nina,

The white breasted nuthatch eggs I had in one of my nestboxes were tiny and white with red or brown dots on them. I don't know where you live, but you may have red breasted nuthatches there, and they may have pinkish eggs.

Next time, have your daughter put hole restrictors on the nestbox after the nuthatches claim it. This will protect the nuthatches from marauding house sparrows and other birds. Nuthatches can use hole restrictors of 1 3/8". However, a bird that might still interfere after the hole restrictor is put in place are house wrens. Still, it is better to lower the odds of losing the nestlings and parents.

Good luck next time, and tell your daughter to keep the faith regarding the nestbox. We still have one or two nestings to go in the season!

See the link below for Cornell's reference chart of hole sizes for different birds.

Donna in Marlborough, CT

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/birdhouse/bird_bios/refrchart.html



From: Afinechef"at"aol.com [mailto:Afinechef"at"aol.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 26, 2005 6:01 PM
Subject: Photos of bird eggs

Dear Nina and List,

The link below sends you to a website that has photos of many different types of bird eggs. You might find the egg of the birds who lost their nest in the photos.

Donna in Marlborough, CT

http://www.wildbirds.org/info/eggs5.htm



From: Tree Greenwood [mailto:doctree"at"crosslink.net]
Sent: Monday, June 06, 2005 9:50 AM
Subject: Re: Woodpecker houses?!...

My White Breasted Nuthatches rarely venture out of our Maple trees except in mid-winter and only if we don't keep the suet feeder in the trees filled. Then the WBNU will visit the elevated platform feeder for just long enough to snatch a nut or berry. They've never been to a Bluebird nestbox even though there are a few withing sight of the trees. I have small nest boxes in those trees but the nuthatches don't like and won't use hanging wren boxes. They pick natural woodpecker holes from which they are invariably driven out by European Starlings and English House Sparrows [grumble].

So I'm trying a new style, attached high in the trees against a large limb or main truck:
http://www.50birds.com/images/misidemount1.jpg
The small entry hole should keep HOSP and EUST out. So far, no success in getting the WBNU into that box but the wood was new. I often find that native birds prefer old, weathered boxes. Maybe next season? Woodpeckers choose trees, too, although I've also seen them make a nest hole in an abandoned, deteriorating utility pole and I've heard of them hollowing out tall fence posts.

Are they vulnerable to predators in the trees?
Yes. But if they won't nest where I want them to and where I can help to protect them, then I need to put up nestboxes where they want to nest... and that's in the trees, often large, old trees that will be very hard to protect. A House Wren may predate the Nuthatch nest or a snake may find it. If so, that's nature. At least I can provide a home safer from exotics that have evicted the Nuthatches from natural cavities.

Take care,

R J 'Tree' Greenwood
Catlett VA


From: Afinechef"at"aol.com [mailto:Afinechef"at"aol.com]
Sent: Monday, June 06, 2005 10:00 AM
Subject: White Breasted Nuthatches in Bluebird Houses

Hi Tree and List,

Just wanted to put in my two cents that for two years I have had White Breasted Nuthatches (WBNU) nesting in a NABS style bluebird house in my yard. They chose a box that is slightly under a tree canopy, elevated so that the hole is about 6' off the ground. They raised six nestlings in the box.

I didn't know that was special until several long time List members emailed me off-list to ask me the exact setting and type of box I was using.

The last three years that same box has been claimed by titmice. The titmice guard the box and won't let the nuthatches use it. I now have seven boxes up on my property--two NABs style, one Van Ert PVC, one Springer chalet, a Peterson, and a horizontal bluebird house. The two NABs style and the Van Ert are the most popular. I've never had a taker in the Peterson, although the woodpeckers roost in it. (I relocated it this year to see if I could get some tree swallows to nest in it). The Springer chalet has a family of titmice in it. The Van Ert fledged seven black-capped chickadees again this year.

If anyone wants to see a photo of the NABS box in its setting that attracts WBNUs each year, please email me off-list and I'll send you a photo.

Donna in Marlborough, CT



From: philip.berry [mailto:philip.berry"at"mchsi.com]
Subject: BHNU Are Back !!

My very first Brown Headed Nuthatch sighting since hurricane Ivan destroyed all our pine trees was spotted on the trail. She has a nest built in a BB nest box. I put a small restrictor on the opening so no other birds can get in. She chewed me out for this, though. I was certain the entire local flock had been wiped out. they are endangered any way, and storms like Ivan do them no good,

We have fledged 65 EABL's, and have over 50 eggs.

Box 12 had lots of activity as I drove up to it. Mom and Dad Bluebird were there, along with three fledglings. All were busy with pine straw, hauling it into the box, and Mom is nest building. I have done this for many years and never have seen this before. They paid little attention to me at all.

Phil Berry
Gulf Breeze, Florida


Subject: Nuthatches
From: geochelone"at"aol.com
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 2007 18:55:00 -0400

Hi all,

I am continuing on my quest to get info on "most wanted" cavity
nesters. I sent out a whole survey a while ago, and thanks to the many
people who responded with info on Chickadees. Today's question is
another on nuthatches. I've heard of more than one nestbox in
deciduous oaks housing White-Breasted Nuthatches. Does anyone else
have a nest in a nestbox mounted in a deciduous oak tree, or in a tree
that is OTHER THAN a deciduous oak that has housed WBNUs? I'd love to
get confirmation that they prefer those trees or to find that those I
heard about are just a coincidence. Also, I'm also still looking for
information about the trees that house other nuthatches, such as the
Red-Breasted Nuthatch and Brown-Headed Nuthatch. (Thanks to those
who've already responded to me on this subject!) If you have any tips,
I'd love those too.

Thanks!!

Mike on a trail in Milpitas


From: mrtony8 [mailto:philip.berry"at"mchsi.com]
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2007 6:33 AM
Subject: Re: Nuthatches

I raise BHN's in bluebird boxes. They are very fragile, so once I am assured we have eggs, I do not open the box again until the babies are older. Since the nest consists of wood shavings and whatever, the wind will blow it away.
They are a neat bird, all come to my feeder, and will perch on my hand or arm for food. Afraid of nothing.
Phil Berry
Gulf Breeze, Florida


From: Tree Greenwood [mailto:doctree"at"crosslink.net]
Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2007 10:42 PM
Subject: Re: Nuthatches

Mike, I haven't attracted a WBNU to a box but a pair attempted to nest in a natural cavity in a Maple snag.
They were evicted by EUST but continue to hang around in some live Maples in our front yard. They frequently visit our feeders.

Given enough time, I intend to try to attract them to nestboxes in the Maples and I may try hole restricters in the oversize openings of the woodpecker holes in the snag. Planned to do that last year but ended up working lots of overtime so I barely kept up with the boxes I already had.

Take care,

R J 'Tree' Greenwood
Catlett VA


Subject: Nuthatches Seem to Understand Chickadees
From: "MJ Shearer" <eshearer"at"comcast.net>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 17:30:17 -0400

Hi all,

Thought some of you might find this article interesting....

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

WASHINGTON (AP) - Nuthatches appear to have learned to understand a foreign
language-chickadee. It's not unusual for one animal to react to the alarm call
of another, but nuthatches seem to go beyond that-interpreting the type of alarm
and what sort of predator poses a threat. When a chickadee sees a predator, it
issues warning call-a soft "seet" for a flying hawk, owl or falcon, or a loud
"chick-a-dee-dee-dee" for a
perched predator.
...

http://search.breitbart.com/q?s=%22Nuthatches+
Seem+to+Understand+Chickadee%22&sid=breitbart.com

MJ

Mary Jane Shearer; Tucker, GA


From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2007 8:09 AM
Subject: White Breasted Nuthatches in Arkansas

Keith Kridler Mt. Pleasant, Texas a cool 55 *F this morning Years ago I talked with a man who was attracting the White Breasted Nuthatches to his nestboxes each year. He claimed that they would not nest in a box that was mounted to a pole in the woods. He said that they were a secretive bird and they NEVER flew directly to the entrance hole of the nestbox with food. He said if you went out and watched them they would always land higher up in the tree, often 12 feet or higher than the nestbox was mounted. Then they would travel downward in the tree acting like they were just searching for food until they reached the nestbox and then they would disappear into the box. Instead of flying away from the entrance hole they would again sneak out of the box continue walking around the trunk of the tree before flying away.

He made his White Breasted Nuthatch nestboxes so that the entrance hole was in one of the upper back corners of the side of the box. He said do not leave any overhang above the entrance hole as they have a harder time flipping over the top of the box if there is an overhang. He actually had better luck attracting them when the hole was nearly hidden by a larger branch coming out right beside the entrance hole. He also often attached large loose chunks of bark to the nestbox creating the impression that the nestbox was actually a part of a rotten or diseased tree trunk.

I need to look through some old boxes of letters and see if I actually saved any letter from him. As I recall he had more than 100 pairs of White Breasted Nuthatches use his nestboxes over the years. At the time we talked I never had any nesting White Breasted Nuthatches even nesting in our region. Now you hear them calling every time you walk through woods in this region. KK


From: Shari Kastner [mailto:smk"at"teamv.com]
Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2007 8:58 AM
Subject: RE: White Breasted Nuthatches in Arkansas

I have the White-breasted Nuthatch and the Red-breasted Nuthatch visiting my feeders everyday. It have never heard their call, but now I'll pay more attention:) Do you know how big of a territory they use?
I'm wondering how far away their nest site is from my feeders. We have a lot of dead Elm in our woods that is about 300 feet away.

Shari Kastner
New Berlin, WI


From: Tree Greenwood [mailto:doctree"at"crosslink.net]
Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2007 11:39 AM
Subject: Re: White Breasted Nuthatches

I hope to try a nestbox similar to
http://www.50birds.com/images/misidemount1.jpg but with the top extending over the back board and hinged at the base of the top so I can monitor. Since it's not built yet, I may eliminate or at least minimize the overhang.

I've never seen any Nuthatch even explore a nestbox mounted to a pole. They seem reluctant to even visit feeders other than the suet feeder attached to the tree trunk with bungee cords. I'm one who still puts some nestboxes in trees. Some birds prefer them.

Take care,

R J 'Tree' Greenwood
Catlett VA


From: wensuz"at"isp.com [mailto:wensuz"at"isp.com]
Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2007 12:51 PM
Subject: Re: White Breasted Nuthatches

Hi R J, and everyone; this is my first experience with WBNU, I have been feeding them since Oct. of last year. I have 2 visit my feeders, they may both be males? Their caps are dark, females I've read have lighter colored caps. They are easily spooked by more aggressive birds, but still they regularly visit all 3 of my hanging feeders, and the post mounted Gazebo with a cage. They even take seed/nuts from the ground under the feeders. They can get aggressive/defensive when they have too, like the DOWP, they spread out their wings and will 'jab' at an offending bird. I may try my hand at attracting them to nest, too, by building one of the nest boxes tailor made for them. In my large snag, there are 2-3 natural cavities, EABL were seen in the fall checking them out, but so far this year, only the ugly EUST are claiming them. I did shoot one with my bb gun, about 50' out from the house. Unfortunately I get flocks of them at times, but I never let them linger, out comes the gun, and off they fly. I did see today a victory of sorts for the native Sparrows. A little SOSP lunged repeatedly at a HOSP on the ground, and was successful at driving it off! The TRSP can be pretty scrappy too, as they are constantly bickering among them selves, and they claim every feeder until they are dethroned by one more dominant. So far no EABL have shown, still I remain hopeful. As I drive around my rural area, I see nearly every House has the potential to be prime EABL territory, and I think of how wonderful it would be if every resident would put up even one nest box and monitor it well, could you imagine the Bluebird population soaring!
-Wendy, in North central Ohio.


From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2007 1:23 PM
Subject: RE: White Breasted Nuthatches in Arkansas

If a box is mounted on a tree, I wonder how WBNUs would respond to a very thick chunk of wood over the entrance hole (simulating the long entrance to a woodpecker cavity.) It wouldn't deter snakes (which luckily for me are not a problem in CT) but would deter raccoons.... Also wonder if they would nest in a box that had a Noel Guard on it...

Bet from CT


From: Bet Zimmerman [mailto:ezdz"at"charter.net]
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2007 1:45 PM
Subject: RE: White Breasted Nuthatches

I have seen nuthatches pop in and out of a nestbox on a pole, a PUMA house, and one I have that is mounted on a chimney. They might have just been 'sploring/looking for bugs. Never had one nest yet. I think Donna got one nesting on a pole/post, no?

WBNUs are all over my suet feeders (cage within a cage hanging from a tree) and come to my seed feeders also which are mounted on a pole but are under some trees.


From: bluebirder2838 [mailto:bluebirder2838"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2007 3:51 PM
Subject: RE: White Breasted Nuthatches

Hi,

Yes, I have had white breasted nuthatches nesting in a NABS style box in my yard. The box is underneath a canopy of mixed deciduous trees (oak, butternut, maple, mostly) and there are wild shrubs all around (mountain laurel, wild azalea, low sassafras). It is mounted on a post with a baffle.
There is a small guard tacked to the entrance hole.

I will share photos of the successful nest box with anyone who asks. I've sent them out before. I didn't know how lucky I was to have nesting WBNUs!

Donna from Marlborough, CT


From: MJ Shearer [mailto:eshearer"at"comcast.net]
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2007 7:11 PM
Subject: Re: Newborns
 ... 
 
Haven't had a chance to check the trail yet, but I checked the nestboxes in my yard
today and found 5 EABL eggs in the natural log box, 6 BHNU eggs in another next
box, and a CACH that wouldn't leave the nest, so I don't know what she's keeping warm --
probably eggs.  These 3 nestboxes are located in my back yard about 30 feet apart.
 
Interestingly, the nuthatch is using the largest nestbox, mounted in the center of the
lawn, and the bluebird nest is in the box nearest the oak tree.  I guess it's just another
case of birds not reading the books -- or the List!  ;-) !!
 
 ...
Mary Jane Shearer;  Tucker, GA  

(NE Atlanta)


From: Barb Berlew [mailto:saberlew"at"nc.rr.com]
Sent: Saturday, May 05, 2007 5:58 PM
Subject: Nuthatches in box with bluebird babies

I have a bluebird box that has live babies.  The last 3 days I am seeing several nuthatches frequently entering and leaving the box along with the adult bluebirds.  For example:  female bluebird enters with food, then leaves.....male bluebird enters with food, then leaves......nuthatch enters, stays for a while, another nuthatch looks inside, then leaves......first nuthatch leaves......female bluebird returns.  This has been going on non-stop for 2 days!  At one point I saw one of the nuthatches leave with something white in its beak.  The bluebirds seem very unconcerned.  Could the nuthatches be helping?!  Or are they predators?
 
Does anyone know what is going on?  I have had successful bluebird nestings for over 20 years, both in Maryland and now in North Carolina.  I have dealt with numerous predators, but have never seen anything like this.  Help!

From: Keith & Sandy Kridler [mailto:txbluebirder"at"sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Saturday, May 05, 2007 10:50 PM
Subject: Re: Nuthatches in box with bluebird babies

If this has been going on for several days already I would not worry too much. I have a man who swears he has four baby wrens in a box and one bluebird baby and both the bluebirds and wrens are feeding the mixed family and have been for several days. Not sure if he has a Bewicks Wren or Carolina Wren but he is taking pictures of the babies. The wrens have been too quick getting into and back out of the nestbox.
 

I have heard of Tree Swallows feeding bluebird babies and vice versa. It is pretty common for songbirds to fee Koi or large gold fish. Some think that when parent birds lose their young that they sometimes adopt nearby baby birds of other species. KK


From: Duane Rice [mailto:drbirdsong4"at"hotmail.com]
Sent: Sunday, May 06, 2007 9:24 PM
Subject: RE: Nuthatches in box with bluebird babies

Barb,
This is new to me too.
Nuthatches are very curious by nature, so I'm not surprised. As long as they're not harming the Bluebird chicks, and the parents do seem to mind, I wouldn't worry about it.
Your post will definately go in my "behavior" file.
DR


From: Evelyn Cooper [mailto:emcooper"at"bayou.com]
Sent: Monday, May 07, 2007 11:28 AM
Subject: RE: Nuthatches in box with bluebird babies

I have read several testimonies where species of birds fed those not of their own.

I was privileged to hear about one first hand when about two years ago, an LBBS member called me all upset that a pair of CACH's had taken over feeding her brood of Bluebird babies in her backyard. I told her all she could do was to watch and let us know what happened. She said the Bluebirds sat on the fence beside the box for a day and half watching while the Chickadees did the feeding. I suppose they finally decided "enough is enough" and they ran the Chickadees off and resumed feeding their babies.

Evelyn
Delhi, LA


From: Barb Berlew [mailto:saberlew "at"nc.rr.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2007 12:33 PM
Subject: Bluebirds & nuthatches

I am new to the list and first wrote about a week ago.  I had nuthatches entering my bluebird box along with mom and dad bluebirds.  The nuthatches seemed to be helping (removing fecal sacs), and both BBs seemed unconcerned.  My babies fledged about 3 days after I wrote, and all seemed well.  I did not clean out the box immediately because I thought the nuthatches were probably going to step right in and use the box now that it was vacant.  I've been gone a few days, and now that I've returned I seem to have one NH egg with mom NH sitting on it.  Only now I have the BB pair trying to chase off the poor NH after all her hard work and help with the BB babies!  I'm off today to try to buy and set up another box that the BBs might accept.  I hope it's not too late for mom NH.  Anyone have any thoughts on this situation?  Although I am new to this list, I have had successful BB boxes for over 20 years and have never experienced anything like this before.

Barb in North Carolina


From: mrtony8 [mailto:philip.berry "at"mchsi.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2007 6:23 PM
Subject: Re: Bluebirds & nuthatches

There is not much you can do in the situation you describe. I have both nesting on my trail but normally the hatches use their own box, due to the fact that they don't build much of a nest. I have never seen one use a bb nest. You can't legally or morally disturb either one, though. Keep us informed, please. Are these brown headed or others? We have the brown headded here.
Phil Berry

Gulf Breeze, Florida


From: plkldf "at"comcast.net [mailto:plkldf "at"comcast.net]
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 6:37 AM
Subject: re: bluebirds and nuthatches

Paul Kilduff
trail at Oregon Ridge Park, Cockeysville (Baltimore Co) MD
 
Barb, I got through the rest of the digest and didn't see any on-list responses to your question so let me weigh in.
 
A hole restrictor would help you, I think.  You can google nutchatch nestbox hole size and find good info, for example, the excellent Bet Zimmerman's sialis.org: http://www.sialis.org/nestboxguide.htm  If you have face guards on your boxes to keep EUropean STarlings from reaching in, or other larger birds, you can subsitute the hole restrictor for the face guard.
 
Bluebirds are basically stymied by anything less than 1-1/2", while brown headed nuthatches can get into 1.25", meaning any hole restrictor less than 1.5 and more than 1.25 should exclude the bluebirds and allow the nuthatches to use the box.  You might be restricted by the size of drill bits available to you, but you should be able to find something pretty easily that falls into that range.  Just take a piece of wood, such as a 2x4 or 1-by-something (for example, 1" x 6" nominal, actually 3/4" thick) and drill that size hole in it and put it over your entrance hole with wood screws.  You'll need a cordless drill and the right size deck screws so that hopefully you don't have the pointy ends of screws sticking into your nestbox!
 
Pretty cool about the nuthatches helping with the fecal sacs!  I don't think I've heard of that before!  What the heck is that about?

Paul


From: Lawrence Herbert [mailto:lherbert "at"4state.com]
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 9:11 AM
Subject: nuthatch/bluebird

Barb in NC. You have the best idea:
go get another box or two and mount
soon.
Enjoy them both!

Larry H. Joplin (sw) MO.


From: Barb Berlew [mailto:saberlew "at"nc.rr.com]
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 12:02 PM
Subject: Bluebirds/Nuthatches

Thanks to everyone who is helping me with my NH/BB situation.  There is still lots of activity with both the BB mom and dad, and with 3 NHs.  The NH egg is still intact, the BBs do not seem to be harming it.  Both sets of parents seem to be guarding the box.  Every once in a while, I'll notice the BBs get feisty and try to run off the NHs.  I went out late yesterday and bought another house, which I set up about 80 feet away.  There used to be a feeder there (not in use) that the BBs like to perch on, so hopefully they will notice the house quickly.
 
Thanks to Mike for his advice.  I checked out your video on youtube.  I was unable to set up a new box in that manner, because of the orientation.  My house sits on a small lot, but on a golf course.  There is a large pond on one side, and wide open golf course with no cover on the other two sides.  No matter how I situated a second box, the fledglings would either end up in the pond or in a wide open space with no place to hide.  The best I could do was set up a new box as I wrote above.  As for your questions about the NHs, they are the brown headed variety.  My box does have an overhang, and the nearest trees are pine trees about 40 feet away.  The NHs seem to fly in and out without trying to hide or be inconspicuous.  They frequently hang out on the sides of the box.
 
Thanks also to Paul for his suggestion of the hole restrictor.  I will continue to monitor closely, and if they start to fight, I'll try that....sounds like a great idea, especially now that I have a second box for the BBs.
 

Barb in North Carolina


From: Barb Berlew [mailto:saberlew "at"nc.rr.com]
Sent: Friday, May 18, 2007 8:00 PM
Subject: Bluebirds/Nuthatches

I had written previously about a NH family that appeared to be helping out with baby BBs.  They were constantly in and out of the box, and once I even observed them removing a fecal sac.  Once the baby BBs fledged Mamma NH laid one egg  in the nest, but the BBs then would not leave her alone.  They did not harm the Mom or the egg, but kept trying to run off the NHs. 
 
I now have good news to share.  After I last wrote, I put up a second box, hoping to attract the BBs to it and away from poor Mamma NH who had been so helpful.  It worked!  The new box was up less than an hour when the BBs discovered it and claimed it.  They are busy building a new nest in the new box.  I have not seen the fledglings since the first day, but that is not unusual for me.   Mamma NH is now sitting undisturbed on her one egg.
 
Barb in North Carolina

Note: Update

From: Barb Berlew [mailto:saberlew "at"nc.rr.com]
Sent: Saturday, January 26, 2008 2:35 PM
To: 'Bet Zimmerman'
Subject: RE: Bluebirds & nuthatches

Hi Bet
Looking back on it, I think I've figured out what happened.....kind of a long story.  Where I live (North Carolina) the Nuthatches seem to build the first nest of the spring before the bluebirds do.  In the past I've had the NH's build before the BBs.  A few years ago, a NH pair used my BB box, so I went out and bought a new box, which the BBs then used.  So I had two boxes, two families, everybody was happy.  However, the original box was so old it finally fell apart last winter and I didn't replace it....MISTAKE!!   Last spring we were out of town for quite a while, so I missed the beginning of nesting season.  When we got back, I noticed all this commotion that I wrote about.  BB pair had eggs, NHs were going in and out right after Mom or Dad BB would leave.
 
The BB babies finally fledged.  After that I inspected the box and there was one NH egg, all covered up.  Mom NH was attentive for a while, no more eggs were laid, then she finally abandoned the egg.  In retrospect, I think what happened is that Mom NH built a nest first, laid one egg, then was chased off by the later nest building BBs.  I think she was trying to help them out of the nest and trying to keep it clean so she could reclaim it.  But it was really too late for her.  She never built a second nest, even though I had bought and installed the second box.  The BBs built a second nest in the newly installed box, but the NH pair never reclaimed the old box.  So this year I'll have the two boxes at the beginning of the season, so hopefully everyone will be happy and no more homeless birds!  ...
....

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