Friday, February 27, 2009

Northern Flicker nest box

Last year we built our first Northern Flicker box. Almost immediately, we had a Flicker move in and start excavating (we had packed it with wood chips). Unfortunately, the Starlings soon moved in and the Flicker finally gave the box up. We were extremely disappointed to say the least.
Well this last year, we learned a few things and built a new Flicker box a few days ago. The first one we built had no deterrent for Starlings. They could just fly right up and hop in the box. So this year, after some studying and reading up a little, we changed things a bit. First, we sloped the front of the box inward, so that the entrance is on an incline. Secondly, we put a small shield of plastic above the opening. Both of these additions are supposed to work as Starling deterrents.

So now, we sit and wait (not so patiently) for a Flicker to move on in and start the nesting process. Fingers are crossed, lucky coin is in my pocket and our shoelaces are tied twice on the left side. I don't know what more we can do.

Take care!!

Here is the Flicker and Flicker box from last year. A pretty basic and straightforward design. But nonetheless, he moved in quickly. It was actually an intergrade that moved in.

Here is the new box with the "Starling Proof" additions. We shall see.

This new box is about 10" taller and 10" deeper. It still ha s a 7"x7" floor, but the box itself is quite a bit larger.

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Owlman said...

Very interesting. Most sites I've looked at suggest filling the box with wood shavings. Initially I didn't see anything in your box but now upon closer inspection it looks like you do have some in there. Id'd be interested to see if the new design works.

Mike said...

Thanks for sharing your innovative box design. Can you also provide the actual dimensions inc the shield and how it is mounted to the box?
I have a 2 yo box that is once again, recieving equal interest from both Flicker and Starling and presently,I'm keeping the box as full as possible with pine chips. Have you tried any type of Starling trap or other deterent?

thanks, Mike in Denver CO

Seth and Michelle said...

Mike, the box is 22" tall, 7" wide, 16" deep at the top and the front is inverted so it's 7" deep on the floor. The shield is 6-1/2" wide and 8" long.

I cut a slit in each side of the wood by the entrance and slid the shield in. Then, I screwed the box together so the sheild was snug.

I then packed it full of wood shavings.

No, I haven't really tried any other deterents (other than yelling and clapping).

Seth and Michelle said...


The Flicker has started to go to the box now. Not really moving in, but definitely interested! Pecking at it and sitting on top of it.

Mike said...

Hi folks,

Thanks for sharing the measurments. Does yours have a 'hinged lid' ? I will build it this week. My current box is like your original, and is getting near equal interest from Flickers and Starlings alike,as it has for 3 seasons I keep a Startling black-hole trap mounted on a pole, just a few feet from the box and I did catch one starling last week. ( very satisfying! ) My trap is similar to these:

I'm using natural cork-board tiles, to give the exterior a 'bark-like' appearance.

I plan to have 3 boxes within a half acre, hopefully to distract the Starlings away from the main box.

I keep a hanging suet feeder about 80 feet away, and they love that.

thanks again,


Seth and Michelle said...

Awesome! Thanks for the tips and the link.

Nope, no hinged lid. We try to make it as natural as possible, and since no one cleans out the nests in the wild, we choose not to in the yard. But, a lot of people do without any harm so I think either way, you're fine.

The Zen Birdfeeder said...

Good luck with those flickers and keep us posted!

Anonymous said...

I just made one and put it up - thanks for the info. Looks kind of awkward even for the Flicker to get into but there lots of this same design on the net. I thought maybe I will extend the face down beyond the base a foot or more so the Flicker can land easily, or transfer from the tree, and walk up the angle face which the starlings can't cling too.

Black Creek, Vancouver Island

Anonymous said...

Darn starlings have moved right in.
I saw one sitting on top this morning and as I approached one droped out the hole and they both flew off. Maybe the plastic is too far away or something. What were your distances at the top and bottom of the sheild to the face of the box?

Pete said...

Which way is it facing....n s e w ? How high off the ground? I have so many flickers around here in southern or. and i want to put a box. I like your design

janes_kid said...

Some more dimension questions: diameter of hole? How high off the ground? Facing what direction?

janes_kid said...

Do the sound correct? Hole 2.5 inches in diameter. 6-30 feet from the ground facing south.