4 Foods to Attract Nuthatches to Your Yard

Attract these acrobatic fliers with a buffet of their favorite foods.

MOMMAWHEATS
Red-breasted nuthatch

Suet

Whether you make your own or buy it, a suet block in a cage-like feeder is sure to lure in nuthatches. In the winter months, when conifer seeds are sometimes scarce, red-breasted nuthatches will travel in search of food and will likely stop at feeders for a suet snack. Add peanut butter to your DIY suet mixture and white-breasted nuthatches will love it even more!

JOHN PIZNIUR

Sunflower Seeds

Any form of sunflower seed will attract desirable birds, but when it comes to nuthatches, serving up black oil sunflower seeds is a slam dunk. Because bully birds also seek out black oil seeds, a tube feeder with small perches is best.

JOHN VAN DECKER/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
Nuthatches are caching birds. They might take seeds from feeders, hide them in trees and go back to eat them later.

Peanuts

If you don’t have a peanut feeder yet, get your hands on one for this upcoming cold season. Red and white-breasted nuthatches will entertain you for hours scurrying up, down and around a peanut feeder. Their favorite? Out of the shell, unsalted peanuts.

GREGORY ROSTE
This beautiful nuthatch visited the feeders outside my house for a few days last September.

Live Mealworms

More species than just bluebirds enjoy a mealworm snack. A large portion of the nuthatch diet is insects, so putting out mealworms for them is definitely worth a shot. They don’t require anything fancy; just toss some mealworms in a shallow tray or platform feeder and cross your fingers.

PAULREEVESPHOTOGRAPHY /ISTOCK.COM
Red-breasted nuthatch

Did you know?

The most common backyard nuthatches are white-breasted and red-breasted. Other North American nuthatches can be found in specialized habitats—brown-headed nuthatches live in the Deep South and pygmy nuthatches in western forests.

Nuthatches are caching birds. They might take seeds from feeders, hide them in trees and go back to eat them later.

JOHN PIZNIUR

Reader Tip

“I feed nuthatches black oil sunflower seeds and peanuts right from the shell (unsalted). In winter, when there’s not much food for them, nuthatches and chickadees sometimes land right on my hand for food.” -John Pizniur, Alberta, Canada