Once the flicker box with the trapped starling is lowered to the ground, a wide mouth plastic jar is placed over the entrance hole and the slide opened. As the starling jumps into the jar, the slide can be closed or the starling quickly caught with your free hand. When the box is mounted under a window, I find it easier to simply remove the camera cap and reach inside through the pvc tube. My arm fills the 4" tube so that the starling can't escape.
The sliding hole cover is easy to reach on this wall mounted flicker box. With the starling trapped inside, the box can then be lifted off the mounting bolt and taken inside the building. Where starlings are a problem, this is much more convenient than repeatedly using a ladder. However, if you must pole mount your nest box, it needn't be high. Flickers will readily use boxes only 5' high.
Before flickers claim a nest box, I monitor the box for either starling or flicker visits, using a video capture box with motion detector. This provides a video record of every vist along with the exact time. The screen below shows a starling's first visit to a flicker box in which a male flicker roosts each night. The flicker left for the day at 7:28am and the starling arrived at 8:17 and made several brief visits during the morning. I closed the hole cover during its last visit.
Today, Jan 6, 2009, the male flicker returned to find another starling in the nest box. Amazingly, this time the flicker won! See starling vs flicker battles. Tonight, the flicker is back roosting in his box and all seems well. While the photo (right) shows the two opponents side by side, this is the only frame of dozens where the feathers aren't flying. And, it only lasted a split second, when the flicker first entered the box and dropped to the floor.
|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|