In the Wild - While nuthatches feed primarily on insects in the summer, in the fall and winter more than half their diet is nuts and seeds from hickory, black spruce, maple buds, cypress, and fir that they forage in the wild. They love acorns, beechnuts and pine nuts. They scavenge waste from farmer's fields such as corn, sunflower, wheat, sorghum, and oats. They also eat various wild berries such as elderberry, Virginia creeper and plants such as redmaids, clover and mustard.
At the Feeder - Nuthatches prefer to feed from a suspended feeder, suet cage or raised feeder, often hanging upside-down as they eat. They most enjoy striped or black-oil sunflower seed, suet mixtures, peanut butter, peanut kernels, melon seeds (cantaloupe, pumpkin, squash), nutmeats, stale baked goods and even crumbled dog biscuits. Be sure and offer a reliable source of fresh water, which is especially critical to seed-eating birds. Put out a birdbath with a heater to prevent freezing in winter. For a discussion of feeders appropriate for nuthatches go to the Yardener's Tool Shed; click here