Feeding ecology and diet

Nuthatches use their bill to glean insects, spiders, snails, and other invertebrates from the surface and crevices of tree trunks, sometimes chiseling loose bark away to expose prey beneath. They may also forage on rocks and in epiphytic mosses and lichens. They also glean arthropods from foliage, from the ground, and may even catch them in flight. During the spring and summer they mostly feed on invertebrates, but in the winter they also eat small fruits and oil-rich seeds of various kinds of plants. To open an enclosed seed, such as that of the sunflower, they wedge it into a cleft and hammer the top with their bill. Nuthatches break open snail shells in a similar manner. At times when food is abundant, they store it in clefts for use later in times of scarcity.

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