We now have a total of four European Starling Nest Boxes set up around the property, all at a distance from each other. They are appropriately named Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta. And, as mentioned previously, we’re both delighted and surprised that winter visitors continue to maintain occupancy.
Alpha Nest Box: Two continuous occupants, both very suspicious of us and the first thing we see upon arrival home. They’ve cleared out the majority of the cedar shavings, which we found out is a good way to track how often any given nest is being “checked out” (they like to remove it and scatter it outside of the nest on the ground; a good visual cue). We originally intended it for winter warmth and possible soiling prevention; we were wrong on both counts for Starlings, it would seem.
Beta Nest Box: A single solitary European Starling has resided in this nest box all winter. He’s completely removed the cedar shavings. During the day, several visitors inspect the nest, but it always ends up with just one occupant (perhaps the same one, not yet pair bonded).
Gamma Nest Box: This one has an entrance hole on the side, so it’s a bit more difficult to take a flash photo. Using a flashlight through the entrance hole, the camera can take a picture through a small 1/2″ hole on the perpendicular side. We’re sure the birds are just delighted at this sort of human behavior, and they tolerate it well. Absolutely no remaining cedar shavings for bedding. If you look closely, you can see in the back the removable piece of wood for ventilation during the summer use.
Delta Nest Box: Currently unoccupied, and a bit higher up (thus the odd camera angle). Some cedar shavings are removed, and as it’s next to the side of the house, we can hear the poke, poke sounds as the birds investigate it each morning. However, as of yet, it’s not a permanent residence.
If all goes as planned, it should be a great place for new nestlings, as well as the sounds of little babies as they hatch and grow up. It’s part of the charm, we feel, of early summer!