Well, I’m not sure if they did it by guile, by force, or by consulting the Office of the Housing Ombirdsman, but somehow the Northern Flickers have regained occupancy of their nest.
As you may recall, it wasn’t looking good for them in the last post, Battle of the Nest. The Starlings had moved right in and were even installing their own furniture. And yet, when I went by the next day, this familiar head was defiantly sticking out of the nest.
I check every time I go by and almost every time there is a Northern Flicker sentry at the door. Mom or dad are on duty 24/7 to ward off future home invasions.
Still some last minute renovations going on too.
Meanwhile, what of the starlings?
I must admit I was rooting for the Northern Flickers, given that they were in the nest first and had done all the hard work of digging it out. Fair play and all, right?
It can be hard to sympathize with the starlings, and yet . . .
It’s really not the Starlings’ fault that a well meaning, homesick, but misguided English immigrant (human) released a bunch of them in Central Park, NY in 1890. His goal was to eventually introduce every bird mentioned in the works of William Shakespeare to North America, but the starling was his great “success.” A great example of “be careful what you wish for.”
Neither is it their fault that they’re tough and adaptable birds so that now there are many millions of them in North America, competing with native birds for habitat, food and nest sites.
A few other things in defence of the Starling:
- Their linguistic skills are so complex they challenge previous notions around the very nature of language and its evolution. Reference: Starlings’ Listening Skills May Shed Light on Language Evolution, NY Times, 2006
- They have incredible navigational ability. Vast numbers of them fly in complex and awe inspiring patterns called murmurations and never seem to run into each other. Read more at: Starling murmurations: the science behind one of nature’s greatest displays by Phys.org
- While they look like drab birds from far away, when the light strikes their feathers, they are anything but dull.
- If you still really think you can’t appreciate starlings (and remember, a lot of people felt that way about crows until quite recently . . . ) I really recommend reading Mozart’s Starling by Lyanda Lynn Haupt.
So . . . what happened to the Starling invaders of the Flicker nest? Well, it seems they just moved one tree over and took over the tree cavity that was used by Flickers for the 2017 nesting season (recorded in Flicker Family Saga Part One and Part Two. ) It’s been vacant since then, so they moved in without any drama and everyone seems to be getting along for the time being.
Just to be on the safe side, the male Flicker makes regular and emphatic pronouncements regarding property and tenancy rights.