Plate 36: White-bellied (white-breasted) Nuthatch

Sitta carolinensis

Nests & Eggs: Nuthatch

Active and agile little birds known for their habit of descending trees.

Nuthatches are one of the few “upside-down” birds. Chickadees and titmice sometimes feed by hanging below a cone or some limb which they want to explore; woodpeckers and Brown Creepers may brace themselves beneath a limb, but nuthatches seem to feel more at ease, when coming down a tree headfirst. That must be an advantage for they may see food which the climbers overlook. It is amazing to see the ease with which they travel, never using their tails as props.

The White-breasted Nuthatch, largest of the family, is about sparrow-size (6 inches), and shows a bluish-gray back, white under parts with blackish crown and nape. Beady black eyes are noticeable since they are surrounded by the white cheeks. These birds seem to favor deciduous trees rather than evergreens, the preferred habitat of the smaller Red-breasted Nuthatch.

A supply of nut meats and suet on your feeder seems to attract these birds. You might decide, after watching them for a short time, that such a small bird could not eat such a quantity of food. A further check will show that he is thrifty, making trip after trip to hide choice morsels for future use. He is never sure how long the supply will last.

Introduction to Our Bird Friends, Volume 2
  • Print out the notebooking pages provided below.
  • Read the White-Breasted Nuthatch story in Bird Biographies out loud.
  • Have a younger student orally narrate what was read. He can then copy a few lines of his narration onto the notebooking pages.
  • Older students can read the text, Plate XXXVI: White-bellied Nuthatch, and provide a written narration.
  • Sketch the bird. This encourages attention to detail, which will aid in identifying the bird later on. Another option is to use the printables provided below.
  • Sketch the nest of the bird, along with the eggs. Note where the nest is usually found.
  • Older students can include the taxonomy.
  • Learn more about the White-breasted Nuthatch at Cornell.
  • On one notebooking page note the facts:
    • Description.
    • Habitat.
    • Range.
    • Food.
    • Nest.
    • Eggs.
    • Call.
  • The nuthatch is covered in The Burgess Bird Book: CHAPTER XXXVII. Farewells and Welcomes.
Additional Resources

30 Narration Ideas
At some point you might appreciate some variety.

The Bird Study sections of our free nature study series: Our Wonderful World:

Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World
Printables & Notebooking Pages

White-bellied (White-breasted) Nuthatch Notebooking Pages
Free simple notebooking set.

Bird picture for notebook.

Yank-Yank the White-breasted Nuthatch
Corresponding print from The Burgess Bird Book.

Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book

Fifty Favorite Birds Coloring Book
Dover Nature Coloring Book based on Fifty Birds of Town and City by Bob Hines. Includes the white-breasted nuthatch.

White-breasted Nuthatch Range Map
For notebook from Cornell.

Bird Facts Notebooking Page
One option in a more graphic organizer style that is especially nice for noting the facts and range.

Enjoy the entire series:
Nest & Eggs ~ Intro & Free eBook
Free Bird Studies: Nests & Eggs ~ Complete Series

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