A2Z – Birds – Nuthatch

Featured Image of White Breasted Nuthatch by Nick Saunders

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  • Physical Description: The nuthatch is a small, stocky bird with a white face, a buff or rusty breast, bluish-grey back, dark crown, and flashes across its eyes, and ark feathers in the wings. The tail and neck are short and the head is comparatively large with a long dark bill. The red-breasted nuthatch measures just over 4 inches long, with a wingspan of approximately 7.5 inches and a weight of about .5 ounces.
  • Geographic Distribution: The nuthatch is found throughout Canada and the United States
  • Environment: The nut hatch enjoys mature woodland, and generally prefers coniferous trees to deciduous
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Brown Headed Nuthatch Image by Will Stuart

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

The nuthatch get its name from its action of taking a seed or nut, wedging it into a small space or crevice, and hammering at it with its bill.

In his History of Animals, Aristotle wrote that the nuthatch and the wren were at war with the eagle, and the nuthatch broke the eagle’s eggs, making it a special target for revenge. However, like many other classic stories, there is no real-life association for this fable; eagles don’t single nuthatches out for particular attention in any way

The nuthatch and the wren are at war with the eagle; the nuthatch breaks the eagle’s eggs, so the eagle is at war with it on special grounds, though, as a bird of prey, it carries on a general war all round.” – Aristotle: The History of Animals

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

This bird may be encouraging you to take a different view of your situation. The nuthatch’s habit of walking down tree trunks and tilting its head to look at things suggests that you should look at things in a different way to gain a better understanding. It may also mean that you courageously go into a new situation headfirst, while still scanning back and forth to be cautious.

The nuthatch may also carry a message to stock up against upcoming lean times. Do you maintain a savings account, into which you put a tiny bit aside every time you get your paycheck? Even if you think you can’t afford five dollars a month, make the commitment to hoard even that small amount. Money builds up, and the time may come when you can use even the small bit you have put aside to buy necessities in desperate times.

Associated Energies: Adaptability, new viewpoints, preparing for the future
Associated Season: Summer
Element Associations: Air
Color Association: Blue-grey, white, black, buff, chestnut

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock


It’s August, and I thought to return to this challenge back in April to finish what I started. As far as taking a different view of my current circumstances, perhaps I will finish this challenge by the time I fully recover! Certainly, these divinatory meanings that the author, Arin, has shared is going to impact me differently this season. The past year has taught many of us to stock up not just our savings but supplies in general. Would any of us look at toilet paper the same way? 😊

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