Richard and Diane Van Vleck Personal Pages
The Home Habitat

2017 Northern Flicker Nesting

Flickers successfully raised a brood in June of 2017, after failing in 2015 and 2016 due to intense starling pressure at all four of the barn mounted boxes. This year starling pairs began to build nests in the 3 available boxes, as usual. Boxes were monitored frequently and starlings were trapped and nesting material promptly removed.  The flickers frequently entered these boxes, but were soon driven off by yet another pair of starlings. Only box “A”, chosen by the kestrel pair went uncontested by starlings. It had housed a family of squirrels who vacated in early April. The box did not have video monitoring then, so I missed any interaction between the squirrels and kestrels.

 After being driven from the barn mounted boxes many times, the male flicker finally resorted to the old post mounted box in the barn yard.  Flickers had not nested in this box since 2005. Starlings had also ignored this box. It seems that nothing attracts starlings to a nest box more than the presence of a flicker. But, the starlings had already lost interest in nesting in early June, when the flickers were observed at the barn yard box.  Once again, the flickers succeeded in nesting only after the starlings moved on.  I know of no other bird that has to work longer and harder to secure a nest site than a flicker in a starling infested area.  And, where snags are readily available, the flicker likely creates more cavities for starlings than do other woodpecker species. They sometimes excavate several in one season, with the starlings perching nearby and waiting.

This winter ( Jan, 2018) the flicker family has remained together. The male is spending each night in the kestrel box (box A), and one of this year’s brood of four is continually finding its way into the barn, requiring that I check the 2nd floor every day and open a high window for it to escape. I have not found where it is entering. The female seems to be frequently spending the night in box C and the others under the eaves. The male kestrel also checks box “A” every few days, but has not yet encountered the male flicker.  No squirrel has entered box “A” this winter. That is the only box being monitored with motion detection.

Male flicker at the nest box

The male flicker


Female flicker at nest box

The female flicker


Nestling at box

A nestling



nestling flickers in box
Northern flicker nestlings
yellow shafted flicker nestlings
Northern flickers
northern flicker young
older flicker nestlings
flicker nest box
 Northern flicker nestlings
Flicker nestlings soon to fledge

2017 Northern flicker nesting
2010-2016 Northern flicker nesting
2005 Northern flicker nesting
2002 Northern flicker nesting
2001 Northern flicker nesting
Flicker and starling nestbox competition
Yellow shafted flicker
Northern flicker nest box
Nest box hole cover

2018 - The Barnyard Balance of Nature Goes Awry
2018 Purple Martin preference for clam shells
2017 - Return of the Monarchs!
Purple Martin prey photos 2017
2010 - 2014 Northern flicker nestings
2014 house wren gourd use
2014 - A dramatic loss of many types of insects
barn swallow artificial nest cups
2014 barn owl nesting - prey study
A new barn swallow shelter for 2013
2010 barn owl nesting
2010 Update
2016-2017 Kestrel nestings
Starling traps
Using blinds in the home habitat
Providing perches for birds
Providing snags for wildlife
The ugly young maple
2001 - 2013 nest cams
Use of tomato cages as hunting perches by insectivorous song birds
Vultures, beetles and the resurrection of life

Species of interest in our yard - photos and articles
barn owl American kestrel purple martin barn swallow Eastern bluebird
tufted titmouse Eastern phoebe yellow shafted flicker tree swallow chimney swift
house wren big brown bat Carolina wren brown thrasher catbird
Eastern wood-pewee
cedar waxwing Northern mockingbird
Blue-gray gnatcatcher
turkey vulture
Yellow warbler Acadian flycatcher

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