The Waiting Game

2 birds 1 box
Not sure what’s going on here. The male (top) was in the box, then the female entered the box. He appeared to either be trying to mate with her or keep her in the box. Photo by Jamie Simo.

Over the past week or so, the activity at my Flicker box has seemed to drop off considerably. Rather than spending most of the day at the box, drumming, and loudly calling (or napping!), the male Flicker has spent some time here and there just chilling at the bottom of the box or hanging silently at the opening staring out. I have noticed he and a female copulating on a nearby tree a handful of times. Maybe he doesn’t need to be so loud or insistent now that he’s scored a mate?

Female flicker
Female Northern Flicker in nesting box. Photo by Jamie Simo.

The female has been in the box a few times now too (and has hung out on the top of the box or the front of the box while the male has been inside), but I’m still waiting on her to take up residence. According to the second Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas, Northern Flickers nest between April 10 and August 15, so there’s still plenty of time for them to start a family.

European Starling in Northern Flicker nest box. Photo by Jamie Simo.

I’ve seen Starlings near the box a couple times, and once one of them in the box, but so far I haven’t seen them for the last few days. I’m not letting my guard down though. I’ve learned my lesson on that!



2 thoughts on “The Waiting Game”

  1. What happens with the Starlings, would they take over the box? Interesting behaviour shots of your Northern Flicker, do they bring in nesting materials?

    1. Oh yes. One of the problems we have is that Starlings are used to dealing with Green Woodpeckers and are absolutely vicious about a nest cavity they want. They’ll peck Northern Flickers to death and seize the box or cavity. The Flickers never evolved to deal with a competitor like that so even though they have that long beak, they just don’t know how to use it as effectively as the Starlings. Plus, the Starlings have a height advantage with their long legs.

      Flickers actually don’t bring in nesting material. The wood shavings they make when excavating a natural cavity are all they use. To simulate that, I bought wood shavings. It kind of tricks them into feeling a sense of accomplishment when they dump them out of the box to get the right thickness. 😉

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