Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Nuthatch and chickadee nesting update

The red-breasted nuthatches completed their nest, and apparently have begun incubating eggs.  Today the female remained in the nest and the male visited regularly to feed her.  He also spent quite a bit of time smearing sap around the entrance to the nest (shown above). This behavior is characteristic of the red-breasted nuthatch, but several nuthatch species perform tasks that help keep their nest free of pests and parasites.  For example, white-breasted nuthatches with scrape the outside of their hole with bad smelling insects to dissuade intruders. 

The female will incubate the eggs for two weeks, so around May 18th the young should hatch.

This year we installed a camera on the outside of the nuthatch box, and we will stream it when things get interesting.  Next year, we'll probably move that camera inside their nest box.  

The chickadees are just about done with their nest construction and similar to the past, it is made mostly of squirrel fur, and some antelope hair.  The female has been roosting in the nest box for the last couple of nights, and I suspect she will begin laying eggs anytime now (if she has not already).  Unlike the nuthatches, we have a live streaming camera inside the nest box- click here to see what is going in inside 24/7.


  1. Lovely site. Very beautiful, interesting and entertaining. I will come back often.

  2. From your fan in Kalispell: A Stream Runs Through It!

    Dear folks,

    It was a singular pleasure to be able to visit your lovely pocket park in Missoula on Friday, as I happened to be in town for a conference. The park is even more beautiful, restful and peace-inducing than in the pictures, and I had no idea a stream ran through it. Seems you have a resident male mallard, who appears to have taken ownership. The signs and plant notations were very helpful.

    Also, since you mentioned your front yard was a public space, I was able to drop by there also and found a wonderful continuation of the pocket park with even more beauty and variety. I am amazed to see wildflowers in bloom in your garden, as it is not time here yet just north of you. I so appreciate your willingness to share, and I learned a great deal (for example, I can now recognize yarrow in my own yard). I am putting together a songbird wildlife habitat and just got certified by NWF. My heartfelt thanks for your guidance.

  3. Mobius,
    Thank you so much- that has to be the nicest comment I've ever gotten on this blog! I'm really glad you stopped by the little native plant garden at 8th and Grant, and stopped by our front yard, too. Anytime you are in town please stop by- the flowers and plants change so much throughout the year- another one of the benefits of diverse native plants.
    Keep me posted on your songbird project. Thanks again.

  4. Hi Amanda- thanks for the comments- glad you found my blog. Visit anytime!