Date: 7/9/20 6:48 am
From: Alfred Maley <alfredmaley...>
Subject: [NHBirds] Crested Flycatchers Fledge - a Three Species Saga of Life and Death
This morning before 8 AM I saw that the last of the young Great Crested
Flycatchers was sitting in the maple next to a duck box his parents had
nested in. Flying strongly he went from branch to branch on his way up into
the canopy, the best place for young birds to hide out while their tails
grow long and their flying skills improve by the hour.

This duck (Wood or Hooded) box is mounted on a 14 foot 4x4 post with
flashing that prevents access by raccoons and gray and red squirrels, but
not flying squirrels. This was the first successful flycatcher nesting in
35 years, the other two attempts being predated in boxes were on trees..

When I cleaned up the box (with three inches of pine needles and leaves, I
discovered another nest underneath - a neat cup of bark strips that made me
think White-Breasted Nuthatch. In the middle of that nest were what I
initially thought were hickory nuts, perhaps from a flying squirrel. Upon
closer inspection I realized they were skulls of rodents that likely had
been inside the stomach of a small owl.- they were clean and tan-colored.

I had seen nuthatches going into the box in early April, but then they
disappeared. So whether a Saw-whet or a Screech Owl ate them or simply
ejected them, I don’t know. Also, whether a Saw-whet simply continued on
its migration or an unlucky Screech Owl found itself in the stomach of our
resident Barred Owl, I’ll never know. either.

Al Maley
Hampstead, NH

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