A grove of oaks in South Puget Sound showing suitable habitat for the Slender-billed White-breasted Nuthatch

A grove of oaks in South Puget Sound is suitable habitat for the Slender-billed White-breasted Nuthatch

Ecostudies Institute and the American Bird Conservancy are working to reestablish the Slender-billed White-breasted Nuthatch to South Puget Sound, where it was formerly common. This project will improve the conservation status of the nuthatch in the region, draw needed attention to the conservation of oak-prairie habitats, and highlight the value and effectiveness of landbird reintroductions as a field-tested conservation tool.

The Slender-billed White-breasted Nuthatch is a subspecies that resides within a narrow band of lowland and foothill oak habitats, west of the Cascade and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges. Like many other oak-prairie species in Puget Sound, the nuthatch was considered common into the early 1900s, when habitat loss and degradation from human settlement caused significant population declines. The last breeding pair of nuthatches was recorded in 1995. In Washington State the nuthatch is listed as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need and a Candidate Species for listing as Threatened or Endangered.