2010 Nest Box Cam
Northern flickers successfully nested in a nest box on our barn in 2010, following months of fierce competition from European starlings. I was surprised to observe flicker and starling battles in nest boxes in the fall of 2008 and have since monitored their nest boxes during fall and winter as well as during the nesting season. The male Northern flicker does use nest boxes for night roosts in winter, but the starlings seemed to only be interested in reserving future nest sites. They would remove wood chips, sometimes bring nesting material, but rarely remain in the box for any length of time. The flickers failed to nest in 2009, despite my frequently trapping pairs of starlings in the flicker boxes. In 2010, starlings drove the flickers from Box A on the barn wall, and then from box B. The flickers then excavated a hole under the eaves around the corner on the west wall. This simply opened into the barn and I immediately closed the hole, since it would allow the big brown bats to enter. The bats spend several weeks within a foot of this flicker hole each summer. Next, the flickers moved to the east wall of the barn and excavated a hole unusually low on the wall. It turns out that they chose the only place on any side of the barn where there is a double walled grain bin. It's likely that the flicker could detect the double wall from the sound of his tapping. This allowed the male to begin roosting in the wall, even though the entrance was several feet up from the floor. I then removed the inside wall boards and placed a nestbox (box S)inside the outer wall, using the flickers entrance hole. They seemed to greatly appreciate that bit of magic and successfully reared a brood in this box. I did have to trap several starlings that tried to drive them off. The video still at right shows the female kestrel in box A, the male flicker brooding in box S, and a pair of starlings beginning to nest in box B. In the barn photo below, S marks the entrance to the flicker box S. The white board is a hole cover trap to remove starlings.
Photos of the developing young, beginning one day post hatch (above).
May 15 May 19 May 20 closeup showing egg tooth and flange
May 22 May 23 May 25 May 26 May 27 May 28
May 29 May 30 May 31 June 2 June 3 June 4 June 5
Nestling soon to fledge (below)
|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||Turkey vulture|