Congratulations to Craig Hunt for winning the April 2022 Photo-observation of the Month for the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist! His photo of a pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers attempting to remove a European Starling from their nest cavity received the most faves of any iNaturalist observation in Vermont during the past month.
European Starlings are one of the more notorious non-native bird species in North America. Long thought to have been introduced by an eccentric Shakespeare-enthusiast, at least part of that story has recently been debunked. Tree Swallows, Eastern Bluebirds, Black-capped Chickadees, and many other cavity-nesting birds are quite familiar with the European Starlings penchant for moving in to nest cavities when they’re less than welcome. Starlings’ aggressive nest takeovers have contributed in part to the decline of some bird species, though in some instances the avian homeowners are able to kick out the unwelcome guest. Craig’s photos of a Red-bellied Woodpecker pair attempting to yank a European Starling out of their cavity show one such example of a pair fighting back against an avian interloper.
Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist where you can vote for the winner this month by clicking the ‘fave’ star on your favorite photo-observation. Make sure you get outdoors and record the biodiversity around you, then submit your discoveries and you could be a winner!