Great Crested Flycatcher

This Great Crested Flycatcher flew into my yard, and perched less than 8 feet from where I was sitting. I was sitting outside on my deck my camera, as the Pileated Woodpeckers and their young were foraging along the perimeter of my yard. This is the first time I’ve ever had this species come this close to the house. I hear the bird calling several times a day, but it has never flown into my yard and sat on a relatively low exposed perch. It made my whole day!

Great Crested Flycatcher

A Great Crested Flycatcher on a tomato plant cage. I’ve never spotted one of these in the 20 years I’ve lived at this address. A couple days in a row it landed on this metal cage for newly planted tomato plants. It hopped down and ate something on the ground each time.

Flycatcher Nest

Great Crested Flycatcher nest in nest box.

Great Crested Flycatcher

Why would she do this???

Our first two Great Crested Flycatcher eggs hatched. The chicks seemed alive and fine, but mom removed them from the nest 🙁

Why would she do this?

Need. More. Feathers.

Mama Great Crested Flycatcher has been busy adding TONS of feathers to the nest over the past 48 hours. We expect the eggs to start hatching today or tomorrow!


Great Crested Flycatcher Mama in Fight Mode

Yesterday, a red-bellied woodpecker landed on the nest box and stuck its head inside. This video shows mama’s reaction. She then left the nest and fought with the woodpecker until it left the area.

Great Crested Flycatchers


There are now 5 eggs in the nest box. Mama has been on and off the nest all day – starting to incubate? We are not sure if she is done laying eggs yet. She has been showing egg-like behavior for 5 days, and there are 5 eggs. So she might still be laying eggs for the next few days – who knows?

Today is the first day we’ve been able to count the eggs, because she has been covering them with various nesting materials. They have been difficult to see. I have had to enter “unknown” for the number of eggs daily until today.

Updates here (a short video is added daily):

(The red bellied woodpecker in the preview image was a winter occupant of the nest box – I am aware that isn’t a flycatcher…)

Great Crested Flycatchers

We have a youtube playlist of these Great Crested Flycatchers in our nest box. I try to add a video every day. They have now been building their nest for 11 days, hoping for eggs soon!

Ash throated flycatcher

Great crested Flycatcher successfully nesting in Peterson nest box–late in season

A great crested Flycatcher was sighted going in and out of a nest box (Peterson) on July 5, 2017 one week after a house wren nest had been removed. 4 eggs were found in grass/leaf, hair/ nest on 7/12. Nest pictures taken with eggs and young. First egg calculated to be laid on 7/8 and last on 7/11. Hatching (correctly) calculated to be on 7/26 and fledging of 4 occurred on 8/4.
Examination of the vacated nest revealed 5 cicada heads, 1 small praying mantis head with 2 leggs, 1 darner wing, 1 small clam shell, 1 land snail shell and many black cherry pits, feathers and much gray dusty material No snake skin seen.

Birdnest made with Snakeskin

Flycatchers fledged.

I missed the action of the birds leaving the nest. Watching for them around the yard.

Flycatchers are almost fledglings.

Great Crested Flycatcher nest in a wood duck box

This photo was taken on 6/11/17 at Mackay Island NWR in Knotts Island, NC. This flycatcher pair has nested in a wood duck box, and used a snake skin to line the bottom. Four nestlings visible. I am not NestWatching the box. Other camera angles available.

Feathered Flycatchers

Hatched Flycatchers

great crested flycatcher nest

“old’ bluebird nesting box, entrance knawed out to 3” by raccoons on forest edge of lawn

Great Crested Flycatchers hatched

Five hatched Great Crested Flycatchers. First viewing since hatched, nest additions continue with more feathers, fur, and grass. Snakeskin has been covered over. Photos of single Great Crested Flycatcher are dad hanging around just waiting for eggs to hatch. Now both parents are busy bringing bugs.

Great Crested Flycatcher Nest

Great Crested Flycatcher

Great Flycatcher Nest

This photo was taken in Hitchcock Woods in Aiken, SC. The Woods has 100+ Bluebird nest boxes and 12 Barred Owl boxes. This nest was in one of the owl boxes. Notice the piece of plastic also in the box! This photo was taken by South Carolina Bluebird Society member Glen Hendry.

Great-crested Flycatcher Nest

This is the first flycatcher nest that I have had. They are using a box that I built for flickers and filled with wood shavings. After battling Starlings and House Sparrows for three long years, something special has taken up residence. Notice, there is not a bit of snakeskin.Very interesting! But take a look at the House Wren nest photo. There’s the snakeskin! In a House Wren nest? It looks like there are some of the same black feathers in there. Maybe the House Wren stole the feathers and the snakeskin from the flycatcher. Fascinating! The wren nest is about 50 feet away from the flycatchers, so this is quite possible.

Great Crested Flycatcher 2011

2014 GCF

5 eggs, 4 fledged 1 egg unhatched

2013 GCF

5 eggs, 5 hatched

2012 GCF

6 eggs, 6 fledged

2011 GCF nest

6 eggs, 6 fledged

GCF 2010

2010 nest. Outcome successful 6 eggs. 5 fledged, 1 egg unhatched

Great Crested Flycatcher nest

Photo taken 5/19/17. Nest is in a Screech Owl Box (GCFs nested there in 2010 as well) the opening of which is barely visible in the bottom wall, but not sure they’re actually going to use this nest. Haven’t seen a bird at the box since 5/14 and don’t hear one more than about once a day. The cup is in a rather peculiar place under the back “brace” attached as a perch for Mama Owl or her nestling. Should the birds return and start a family, will take and post another photo.

Re: our location. We live in the country near Tx Hwy 19. I am not a member of Nest Watch….at least not yet!

Linda Eskew

Great Crested Flycatcher Nest

Nest observation

flycatcher nest after 5 chicks fledged and the same nest on the tailgate

Flycatcher nest in box and then on tailgate.

Great Crested Flycatcher

Photo of Great Crested Flycatcher nest after six days of building. They are the first residents in our Screech Owl house. Snake skin present.

What will little Mama bring next?

This little Mama made a nest in this birdhouse that hangs over my deck last year. They had four beautiful babies that flew. This was the first time I had seen them in my yard and I hoped they would come back this year and they have! They are shy birds that don’t really like to be around humans. I capture them through my back window and my backdoor window. They look forever before entering the birdhouse and the male signals her when it’s o.k. most of the time. I have really enjoyed this pair of Great Crested Flycatchers…

Great Crested Flycatcher nesting in oak tree cavity

Great Crested Flycatchers have started to build nest in oak tree cavity. This pair are return nesters to yard on Anastasia Island between Atlantic Ocean and Matanzas River.

5 Ash throated Fly Catcher chicks

Mostly feathered chicks

Great Crested Flycatcher

Both photos show materials used so far by the GCF nest site. Snake skins are present in the 5/2/17 photo. What appears to be raccoon fur is present in both photos. Additional unknown shell like objects are also present in the 5/2/17 photo.

GCFL Nest with 4 young and snake skin

GCFL with 4 fledgling and snake skin. Fledglings are in back left of nest. Date 4/30/17, 2:30 p.m. Location: Valriico, Florida, 33596. This nest is being nestwatched.

Great Crested Flycatcher

A series of photos take with an IBWP cavity camera during 2016 nesting season which clearly shows snake skin in and around the eggs. The nesting box was built for an American Kestrel but was hung in my backyard and used by a Great Crested Flycatcher pair. Unfortunately, just before the eggs were to hatch, the female disappeared. The male continued to search for her, but she never returned. Perhaps she fell victim to a predator??

Great Crested Flycatcher nest with snakeskin

A great crested flycatcher used a purple martin box for a nest site. I noticed snakeskin, rabbit fur, other fur, other feathers were used in the construction.

Backyard nest

Great Crested Flycatcher Nestlings with Snake Skin

Great Crested Flycatcher with Snake Skin. Location: Valrico, Florida, 4/26/2017. Nesting box. Nest is in being recorded in NestWatching.

Snakeskin in the nest

I believe this was a flycatcher making this nest. It was found 5/29/12 in Lime Lake, NY.

Great-cresteds Find a Holy Grail Snakeskin

Photos were taken on 5/9/2006, before egg laying began. (I hope this 2006 data can be used and isn’t too old to submit for the current GCF Project.)

The snakeskin was so long that it was coiled around and around the interior of the box. The birds’ comings and goings kept pulling one end of the skin out the entrance hole. (I would poke it back in on occasion in hopes the neighbors wouldn’t get spooked.) 🙂

I do regular, even daily nest checks and keep detailed records dating back to 1996 … this GCF pair began nest building in a Peterson-style nest box 5-6′ off the ground, on 5/4/06. The box’s entrance hole was elongated and oriented toward the south. The snakeskin was added on 5/9/06. The first of five eggs was laid on 5/11/06. Fifth egg was laid on 5/15/06 and they began hatching on 5/30/06. Nest check of 5/30/06 revealed two hatchlings and 3 eggs; the next day there were four young and one egg. By 6/1/06 all five had hatched. All fledged successfully. We were thrilled!

My notes indicate we hosted GCFs in the same box the following year, the 2007 season, but I don’t have any photos and don’t have anything in my notes indicating whether a snakeskin was incorporated into this second nest or not. Nest building began on 4/28/07 with the first egg laid on 5/6/07. Final egg was laid on 5/10/07. All five nestlings fledged on 6/8/07 or 6/9/07.

We’ve had nest boxes up for over 20 years in three different cities/states but these two occasions are the only ones where we attracted GCFs. They were a pleasure! ~LC

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Cornell Lab of Ornithology