Skip to Content

When Do White-Breasted Nuthatch Lay Eggs?

When Do White-Breasted Nuthatch Lay Eggs?

Nuthatches have specific times of laying eggs. They find nesting sites, build nests, and lay eggs after breeding. But when do white-breasted nuthatches lay eggs? This article will help you understand the period when you are likely to find white-breasted nuthatch eggs in nests. Let’s get started!

When does a white-breasted nuthatch lay eggs?

White-breasted nuthatches lay their in winters after successfully mating and fertilizing eggs. They start breeding season in May, followed by females finding nesting sites as their eggs get fertilized. After that, they will start egg laying process.

When white-breasted nuthatch lays eggs, it depends on various factors, including their exact breeding and nesting time. So, let’s understand their breeding and nesting months to know when a female nuthatch will likely lay eggs.

White-breasted nuthatch courtship time

Early in May, the breeding season begins with courtship and pair interaction. The majority of white-breasted nuthatches only produce nasal call notes, which they combine into songs by making them louder or more quickly.

Males often sing and sway while courting females, often with their backs facing the females and their crown feathers lifted. Pairs can also glide and fly leisurely beside one another.

There are monogamous white-breasted nuthatches. It implies that they only have one companion the entire year. It is challenging to pinpoint exactly when the mating occurs because the pair may stay together throughout the entire year. But it typically occurs between May and July.

White-breasted nuthatch nesting time

The female white-breasted nuthatches start finding nesting sites as soon as their eggs get fertilized by their mates. They prefer natural tree cavities, abandoned woodpecker holes, dead trees, trees with broken tops, and boxes to build their nests. Sometimes, they can even excavate your wooden features to create holes for building a nest. You can expect a female nuthatch to find their nesting place in late May and end of July. 

Followed by picking the desired nesting place, the pair will spend time building their nest with various materials. Meanwhile, the male white-breasted nuthatch will bring food for its female and practice gathering food for their nestlings. Then comes the time we all have been waiting for – the egg laying period.

White-breasted nuthatch egg laying time

As winter ends, the breeding season of white-breasted nuthatches begins, followed by their egg-laying process. Since the temperature starts warming up, the eggs have high survival rates.

Typically, the white-breasted nuthatch will lay eggs between May and July. Depending on the time of the above events (breeding and nesting), the female will complete its gestation period. If the breeding happens in the early season, the female nuthatch will lay eggs in May or June. However, a delay would extend the egg-laying process to July. Overall, the period between May and July is appropriate for finding white-breasted nuthatch eggs in their nests.

Thereafter, the incubation period of white-breasted nuthatches starts. The female nuthatch will incubate the eggs. Like other birds, female nuthatches recognize “dead” eggs and discard them from their nests. However, they will continue incubating the remaining eggs for about 13-14 days. 

Once the incubation period lasts, the nestlings will hatch out of the eggs. So, you can expect nuthatch babies between June and early August. It’s the perfect time to spot white-breasted nuthatch nestlings in their nests.

Furthermore, you might have more queries regarding nuthatch eggs. So, you might think, how often do white-breasted nuthatches breed and lay eggs in a year. Let’s find out in the following section! 

How many times a year do white-breasted nuthatches lay eggs?

White-breasted nuthatches are monogamous and a pair can stay together forever. They typically mate between May and July. It is the only breeding season white-breasted nuthatches have. So, they lay eggs once a year. 

However, in rare cases, when all nestlings in a clutch die, a female can become ready to mate again in the same season. It might mate again in such instances to conceive and lay fertilized eggs near the breeding season. Although highly rare, a white-breasted nuthatch can lay eggs twice a year. Normally, they breed and lay eggs only once a year. And it’s applicable for all white-breasted nuthatch pairs. 

A white-breasted nuthatch lives for about two years. Since these nuthatches lay eggs once a year, the female white-breasted nuthatch lays eggs twice or thrice in their lifetimes. 

They raise multiple eggs in a clutch with nestlings having a high survival rate. Consequently, they have evolved to breeding, nesting, laying eggs, and raising nestlings once a year.

You already know when white-breasted nuthatches breed and lay eggs. Moving on, let’s know how many eggs a female nuthatch lays in a clutch every year.

How many eggs do white-breasted nuthatches lay?

The female white-breasted nuthatches lay eggs between May and July. They hatch out as creamy white to pinkish-white eggs with purple, gray, or reddish brown specks. Usually, there are five to nine eggs in a cluster of white-breasted nuthatch eggs.

So, the white-breasted nuthatch female lays an average of seven eggs in a year. However, in some cases, especially when raised in captivity with excellent environmental conditions, a female white-breasted nuthatch can lay up to ten eggs in a clutch. However, you can consider that it’s a rare condition, and nuthatches mostly lay five to nine eggs only. Also, every white-breasted nuthatch egg has a length of approximately 0.7-0.8 inches. 


White-breasted nuthatches have a confined breeding period. Since they breed once a year, the female lays nearly seven eggs in a clutch by July. So, if you live in a locality of nuthatches, you can expect new members in your region as spring ends. It’s the best time to find little hatchlings in the nest cavities.