Nuthatch Fledglings

Hi all, 

We are fortunate enough to have a resident pair of eurasian nuthatches in our oak tree, and this year they have only had one fledgling. What could have gone wrong, and is this typical of nuthatches? I read they can have 5 eggs a clutch, but there is only one fledgling as we speak...

  • Hi Kizzy, we also have breeding nuthatches in our garden as we have a lot of oak trees, having said that they sometimes use the stonecrete nest-boxes but I have only seen one, possibly two juveniles around so far. In previous years I have seen Great Spotted Woodpeckers and various corvids which will attack nuthatch nesting sites in the trees; the nuthatches will use mud to narrow the entrance to their nest hole but often predators will chip away at the mud to get to the chicks. In most nesting scenarios eggs/chicks are sometimes predated, hence the reason birds lay several eggs so as to keep their species number going. The law of averages say that maybe only half, if any will survive so I would say it is not unusual if you only see one fledgling. If it is newly fledged there may still be others to follow as they don't always leave the nest and fledge together. We had one nest of blue tits which fledged over two days.

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    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • In reply to HAZY:

    Hi Hazel,
    It has been fledged for about a week now! It makes sense that woodpeckers and corvids are potentially harming the chicks, because we have a lot of greater spotted woodpeckers and jays around. (They keep destroying feeders and all sorts!). It is a shame, because last year the pair failed to fledge any. Nuthatches are definitely my favourite bird, I have even gone as far as to name the pair! I don't know if that is just me, but I get so attached to birds that I see repeatedly.

    The male is called Jeremy, and is pretty full-on,
    The female, is Jemima, and takes no nonsense of the chick or Jeremy, and the new chick is called Jamie, and uses their little beak so gently as opposed to the stabbing of the adults.
  • I only get adults in the garden, and mostly over Winter, but I can imagine youngsters not being particularly good at keeping a low profile. I can remember a nest by a hotel I stayed at a few years ago. I had literally got the keys, went in the room and opened the window. That's how long it took to notice an active nuthatch nest!
  • In reply to Robbo:

    Gosh! This little fledgling is pretty shy, and only comes down when Mum is around. Jeremy and a male woodpecker had a bit of a stand off yesterday, which the woodpecker won, so I think there is definitely some animosity going on between them.