Richard and Diane Van Vleck Personal Pages
The Home Habitat
The clutch of 7 eggs was completed on May 26 and 5 hatched on June 5. Incubation had begun when the 6th egg was laid on the morning of May 25, 11 days before hatching. The male and female have about equally shared daytime incubation, with the male staying in the nest at night. Likewise, the male is now brooding the nestlings at night, but both are frequently trading off this duty during the day. They have both become very vocal since the young have hatched. Another male flicker came today and the two males did a great deal of face to face posturing and a little bit of chasing and fighting, but NOTHING compared to the fierce battles they have had with starlings. This nesting is still in jeapardy from starlings. I shot two more this morning that had come in to display at the two empty boxes that I placed for the visiting great crested flycatchers.
Today a microphone was placed in the flicker box. I usually don't bother with the extra equipment and cables for audio, but the 3 day old flickers are extremely vocal! They don't look like they are old enough to make any sounds at all, When the adults are away they always manage to form a circle with their necks overlapping in the center. Like other songbirds of this age, they can't support their head yet, but can throw it from side to side in order to move around. Their eyes, of course, won't open for days, yet the moment the entrance hole is blocked by a returning adult, they all begin calling loudly. I get the same response from them when I quietly cover the entrance without touching the box. Even now, at midnight, the nestlings are crying quite loudly and the male appears to be trying to quiet them. Infrared video is really neat!
7/29/2002 update The flicker nesting went well, with 6 of 7 eggs hatching and 5 of 6 nestlings fledging. A total of over 200 starlings were trapped or shot in our yard and the flicker box was monitored for several hours each day. The few remaining starlings inspecting the box halfway through the nestling phase no longer entered the box. The thought of killing large nestlings and having them rot in the box was likely not appealing to the starlings. Unlike house sparrows, starlings generally intend to actually use a box when they kill the occupants. They visit boxes in pairs and often immediately begin a nest after claiming the box. Male house sparrows often seem to want many nest boxes and as many mates. Luckily, house sparrows are rare on our property, although, this year, for the first time, one dropped in and killed a tree swallow in a nestbox. This is often reported where sparrows are common, but, seeing the evidence first hand has renewed my vigilance in regard to this second alien species.
changing of the guard
female flicker presenting to male
flickers mating on nest box
great crested flycatcher watching flicker nest box from another perch
male cowbird on flicker box Even the craftiest of brood parasites may be caught on videotape this year!
bluebird approaches flicker on nest box This bluebird currently has a nest in the barnyard and, in the course of a morning, perches on almost every object available. The flicker box was one of his favorite perches until the flickers began to jealously guard it.
The following still photos are taken from a single frame of video from the vhs tapes. This process results in a substantial loss of quality compared to the original camera image and vhs tape.
|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|
|cedar waxwing||Northern mockingbird|
|Yellow warbler||Acadian flycatcher|
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