Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca

Pied flycatchers will readily use nest boxes. They will even breed in new nest boxes provided these are up when the birds return in the spring. In areas within its breeding range the pied flycatcher is a species which can be encouraged almost more than any other by the provision of nest boxes. It is a nest box user of the first degree. Because of the reduction in the area of natural woodland containing old trees with plenty of holes and cavitics, the pied flycatcher now breeds almost exclusively in nest boxes in Sweden.

One can easily identify the male from his black and white plumage, while the female is grey-brown; both have very energetic wing movements. They have no objection whatever to nest boxes in areas inhabited by people and arc one of the most reward ingspccics for which one can set up nest boxes. The ideal box dimensions for pied flycatchers are 19 * 12 * 12 cm, with 3.2 cm diameter entrance hole. The distance from the lower edge of the entrance hole to the floor should be 12.5 19 cm. The nest box should be set at a height of 2.3 m with the entrance hole facing south or cast. Those less handy at joinery can buy the highly popular Trivsel-Bo model for tits. This is a Swedish box which may be unavailable in other European countries but any wooden box of similar dimensions will be suitable. Of 468 nesting attempts by pied flycatchers which 1 have observed, 72 occurred in boxes with a 12.5cm distance between entrance hole and floor, 148 in a box with a 13 cm distance, 168 where it was 16 cm, and 80 where it was 19 cm. No breeding has taken placc when this distance has been longer or shorter than this range. So it is clear that this particular measurement is significant in determining whether or not a box will be used for breeding.

This species is very tolerant and will live in any type of nest box provided its dimensions arc as given above; they will even settle in somewhat larger boxes. Tits have a very strong preference for old nest boxes, whereas the pied flycatcher is very partial to breeding in brand new ones.

Time of arrival I have made detailed observations and notes of the arrival time of the pied flycatcher over an 11-year period. As a rule, the



Flycatcher Nest Box Plans

Block Nest Box

Block Nest Box time of the first arrival has been noted, but in some years the times when most of the males have arrived has also been recorded. Occasional males can be seen as early as the end of April, but in general the first arrivals in the Valdermarsvik region of Sweden occur in the first few days of May. The females normally arrive 3-4 days later, but some individuals have appeared at the same time as the majority of males.

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