After a week of chasing starlings, I'd almost decided the flicker box (as much as I wanted to help them out) HAD to come down. The responsibility of managing the box for them (until they actually claimed it and set up house) was wearing me out and becoming a time-consuming job. As luck would have it, about this time, I visited my local Wild Birds Unlimited store. During conversation with the sales person, I learned about a new improved version of flicker nest boxes that are supposed to be "starling-proof." Sign me up ~ I'm all over that!!!!
Thanks to friends with power tools and willing spirits, I now have my own new box:
This box has an angled front (not sure if you can discern that from this photo or not) so that the sides are higher than the entrance hole. Plexiglass is screwed onto the sides (or slid into grooves) just over the hole portion of the box to prevent Kestrels and starlings (who have to fly straight to the hole) from using the box. Flickers are able to land on the bottom part of the box and climb up (under the plexiglass) and into the hole. Ingenious, don't you think??? I can't wait to see if it works and what my resident flickers think. Here's another view, from a slightly different angle, that perhaps shows the design better:
If you would like to erect such a box in your own yard but don't have the tools (or handy friends) here's a link where you can purchase one:
I bet the flickers would thank you. I've been reading a lot about how their numbers are dwindling because of nest site competition with European Starlings. The Starlings wait until the Flickers excavate a nest site then usually take over the cavity. Anything we can do to help out is a good thing. I'm also VERY excited NOT to have to chase off the starlings every five minutes like a crazy woman! I'm sure my neighbors will be happy too since they were probably wondering what had come over me. ;-)
Another project footnote, triangles were cut for the corners of the raised bed and now the finials fit perfectly! Yay.
No more fretting about the finial bases overhanging the bed edges (not that it was a big problem but details matter to people like myself with perfectionist tendencies!!) It's a happy Saturday here! Oh, and it didn't snow either so everything is good in my little world right now. Hope it is in yours too?