Nesting Wars at Dairy Farm Nature Park
The tree hole “nest” near the top of a dead coconut tree at Dairy Farm Nature Park was the centre of a real estate war between a pair of Banded Woodpeckers, a Red-crowned Barbet and a young Monitor Lizard when I visited the park on 17 July.
This particular hole was most probably excavated by the woodpeckers. Both were seen putting in the finishing touches to the nest throughout the whole morning. Each woodpecker took turns to clear the interior and getting comfortable inside.
Each woodpecker took turns to clear the interior of the nest hole.
But just after noon, a Red-crowned Barbet flew in and chased the woodpeckers away. There were no resistance. It seems that both the woodpeckers were afraid of the barbet and did not wish to pick a fight with it.
But the barbet did not seem too interested in occupying the nest. It went inside for a short while before flying off. From its clumsy attempts to perch on the trunk and it appeared to be a young bird. So it may not be looking for a nest hole to breed.
This surprising aggressive young Red-crowned Barbet chasing the woodpeckers away.
The woodpeckers returned only after the barbet left, happy to reclaim the nest. All this drama was being watched by a young Monitor Lizard at the base of the tree. Some friends told me that the lizard had been seen crawling into the nest before. My guess is that it was more interested in the eggs than the nest.
The Barbet did not seem too interested in the nest.
As with the nest hole at Pasir Ris Park, the woodpeckers did not have an easy time reclaiming this nest. Only time will tell if they will be able to raise a family here.
PS. This tree hole nest seemed abandoned when I checked it a few weeks later. Glad if anyone can provide an update.