Chris: I have studied WBNU nesting behavior in the St. louis area for many years. They are early nesters and I have observed tree cavity nests containing eggs in late March and Early April. I have not observed young in a nest this early. I have noticed adults carrying nest material out here in the woods where I live during the last few days, however.
This species uses alot of wood chips and bark chips as a foundation for their nests. They usually spend alot of time in early spring filling the bottom of a tree cavity with these chips. I wonder if this is what you observed instead of food for young?. Maybe the object you thought was a fecal sac was an unwanted item from the cavity that a bird was cleaning out? After the wood chip portion of their nest building is complete, then they bring in hair, wool and softer materials for the nest. Watch for this activity to begin.
These have been my observations. This has been a crazy warm winter and many things are occuring sooner than usual.
Good luck,
Dave Pierce
St. Louis County

On Sun, Mar 4, 2012 at 8:58 PM, Chris Barrigar <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Spring Greetings!

A couple quick questions. Not sure if this is noteworthy for the Spring seasonal compiler, but isn't it a bit early for White-breasted Nuthatches to be feeding young, and if here on March 4th the parents are feeding young, would I need to include this information with my Winter records submitted to the winter seasonal compiler since it only stands to reason that nesting must have occurred in Winter?

I did observed two adults zipping in and out of a cavity over the Duck Creek CA headquarters' parking lot this evening. I paused and digiscoped the adults carrying foodstuffs into the cavity and observed one carry out a fecal sack. I was/am still a bit shocked at these activities so early in the year. I know I'm showing my ignorance, but watching resident species' nest habits/activities has not been a focal point of mine . . . at least until now.

Thanks for any information in advance!

Bird On!

Chris Barrigar
Stoddard Co.
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D. Pierce
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