The white-breasted nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) is an agile little bird that you've probably ...

The white-breasted nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) is an agile little bird that you've probably ...

The white-breasted nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) is an agile little bird that you've probably seen creeping up and down the trunks of trees, especially if you have a suet feeder mounted on a tree (like my suet feeder, which disappeared mysteriously the other day; I'm assuming a particularly stout squirrel dragged it home for a trophy).

White-breasted nuthatches can be found throughout most of the U.S. and into parts of Canada and Mexico. There are nine different subspecies of white-breasted nuthatch, although the ones we find in Virginia (Sitta carolinensis carolinensis) is the most widespread and can be found throughout most of the east coast and into the midwest. Once you get to the west coast and into Mexico, the subspecies become truly varied, and they're mostly identified by subtle differences in plumage.

The ideal habitat for these birds are mature woods and woodland edges, and they seem to prefer deciduous forests over coniferous forests. One reason they tend to prefer mature forests is that they require holes in trees for nesting. Like many animals, dead trees are important for their survival, and the removal of dead trees from forests can cause their numbers to decline.

If you'd like to attract white-breasted nuthatches to your property, they enjoy suet feeders and birdseed. These birds are omnivorous and will mostly eat insects during the summer, but as the weather becomes cold, seeds begin to make up the lion's share of their diet.

You've seen the posts. You've learned the facts. Now, it's time to prove you are a #BenInNature Mega Fan! The museum's education team has developed the #BenInNature Trivia Challenge to identify the most devoted fans out there! Everyone who successfully answers each trivia question correctly will be congratulated by having your own nature selfie posted to the museum's #BenInNature Mega Fan Photo Album on the official VMNH Facebook page! Learn more and download the trivia challenge today by visiting

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

map of Virginia and surrounding areas

Please Visit Us Soon


Tuesday - Saturday: 10am - 4pm
Sunday - Monday: Closed


$10 for ages 18-59
$5 for ages 3-17, seniors 60+, and college students
FREE for children under 3, museum members, and members of ASTC participating institutions

My 4 year old son loves going to the museum. The exhibits are educational, interactive and kid-friendly.

Beth Deathrage

Hear More  arrow