The Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) is a year-round resident of western Montana and it appears as if the female lays her eggs a few days to a week earlier than the Mountain Chickadee. Nuthatches, although very common throughout this area, very rarely use nest boxes.
Videos: Red-breasted Nuthatch
Listen to a Red-breasted Nuthatch:
Time Stamp Bird Call
0:04:41 Red-breasted Nuthatch
0:11:13 Red-naped Sapsucker
The photograph to the right shows the female nuthatch peaking into the birdbox to check on her newly hatched young.
When choosing a nesting site the male may excavate up to 4 different cavities and the female will only choose one to build her nest in. The male nuthatch will bring food to the female while she finishes the excavation process and builds the nest with grasses, bark and pine needles; using finer materials inside the nest bowl. Both males and females bring resin globules in the tips of their bills and coat the entrance of the nest cavity, occasionally using a piece of bark to apply the resin. It is currently unknown why the resin is applied to the nest entrance, but one popular theory is to deter predators. The female incubated the eggs for 12-13 days before they hatched, while the male fed her. She will continue to brood the young for approximately 7 more days. Both the male and female will feed the young insects until they leave the nest at 18-21 days old. The young become independent 2 weeks after leaving the nest, but may stay with parents throughout the winter.
The Red-breasted Nuthatch has been heard in all three of the dawn chorus audio recording that can be found throughout this web site. We have observed that the nuthatch is most commonly seen walking up and down tree trunks as it forages for food.
The Red-naped Sapsucker that was excavating a hole in front of the new HD Camera may have moved on to a new area. Many cavity nesting bird species that we normally see inside the birdboxes use these old woodpecker holes to make their nests. A Red-breasted Nuthatch has been investigating the old hole recently and can be seen in the pictures to the right.