Fun Fact Friday: Great Crested Flycatchers are large, assertive birds of eastern North America. Throughout their range, these handsome flycatchers are quite common, but they’re more often heard than seen – they spend much of their time high in the canopy, hunting for insects like butterflies, moths, beetles, grasshoppers, and others. They’ll also supplement their diet with a variety of fruits and berries.
Unlike all other Eastern flycatchers, Great Cresteds nest in cavities and will readily take to nest boxes if natural cavities are unavailable. When building their nests, they seem to favor sheer, crinkly items – including snakeskin sheds and onion skins!
Great Crested Flycatchers are relatively tolerant of humans, often nesting in old orchards, urban parks, and even golf courses. They are not tolerant, however, of other birds, and will aggressively run off any would-be interlopers. Males are particularly feisty when their mates are building nests or laying eggs.
These birds are medium- to long-distance migrants, spending winters from central Florida south to northwestern South America, returning to their breeding grounds in mid-March. Birds who breed in southern Florida may be the exception to this; it’s thought that they may not migrate at all.
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