What Do Nuthatches Eat?

I love hearing the cheeky nuthatch in the garden as it devours all the bird food it can get from my bird feeder.

They are really fussy eaters, and so it’s a rare occasion for them to grace us with their presence – they aren’t rare birds at all, but they are renowned for their particular palette!

Nuthatches are really cute birds that are given their name of nuthatch because of their love to stuff and crack nuts into crevices of tree trunks!

Forget Spiderman!

They’re a bit like tree creepers but are far more dexterous and intelligent as they are able to go up and down the tree trunk, unlike the treecreeper.

Actually, they are the only bird in the UK that can climb headfirst down a tree trunk by holding on with their powerful toes.

Maybe Zorro?

This great little bird has a black head with a white tripe that wraps around its head, giving it a kind of pirate look.  This sinister head with its sharp beak contrasts greatly though with its blue/grey back and pinkish-orangey-reddish underbelly.

Its bill, which is sturdy and prominent, is an excellent tool for stowing away its catch of insects and seeds into a multitude of cracks and crevices of the trees it decides to hoard its treasure in!

The bill can later be used as a kind of dagger to peck and jab away at the hidden food, which is stuffed into the tree earlier.

The nuthatch is a great fan of insects, hazel nuts, acorns, beech-mast, and a lot of different seeds and nuts.

Fussy pants!

If you’re keen to entice them to your garden, you might be tempted to put out sunflowers, peanuts, and seed mixes as they are a bit hit with these birds…

Don’t be surprised if you see them sifting through the bird feeder for the things they do like and rejecting the things they don’t!

This is because they are omnivorous and eat insects, nuts, and seeds, and anything else is just, well, not good enough!

So, if you have a lot of trees in your garden, you might be lucky enough to have a pair of nuthatch visitors.

They aren’t fussy though when it comes to having help with nest boxes, I find – one which is rough with a 32mm hole is ideal so they can eat and sleep in your neck of the woods.

1 thought on “What Do Nuthatches Eat?”

  1. I now have a pair of Nuthatches attacking my mixed seed bird feeder and leaving half+ for the pigeons to feed on underneath.

    Your helpful comments explain why this happens and perhaps if I can identify the seeds discarded, by a process of elimination, I can establish their preference.


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