Sitta carolinensis


Like all nuthatches, this bird can climb headfirst down a tree, or upside down along a branch, while looking for insects, often stopping to look around with its head held out at a 90 degree angle. Insects are the birds main staple, with nuts and seeds eaten in lesser quantities. During Fall they store these foods for winter in crevices behind loose tree bark. These birds can often be found in mixed flocks of chickadees, woodpeckers, kinglets, and other nuthatches.


Blue-gray upperparts. White underparts and face. Black crown and nape. Rusty undertail coverts. Short tail. Straight, gray bill. Sexes similar, but female is duller. 5 to 6 inches in length.


Deciduous and mixed forests.


5-6 white eggs, lightly speckled with red-brown. They have a 12 day incubation period. Fledging occurs 14 days after hatching. The nest is a twig and grass cup lined with hair and feathers, built in a natural cavity, bird box, or some other hole excavated by the birds.

Observed Locations:

  • Paso Picacho Campground, Cuyamaca State Park, Cuyamaca
  • Mt. Laguna
  • Palomar Mountain (the Robinson's Cabin), Palomar

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Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.