Thursday, August 10, 2023

Bird Nest Construction Using Sharp, Human-Made Materials

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Nature, Biodiversity, Biological Evolution, Wildlife, Nature of Science, History of Science.

Ed Hessler

Two European bird species, Carrion crows (Corvus corone) and Eurasian magpies (Pica pica),  have been observed in The Netherlands, Belgium and Scotland, to have removed sharp metal spikes (aka "hostile architecture" and "evil architecture") off buildings as nesting materials. Could it even be a defensive mechanism as well--anti-bird spikes being used by birds as anti-bird spikes to keep other species from eating their eggs?

In a paper published in Deinsea, an online journal of the Natural History Museum, Rotterdam, the authors note that the use of man-made and sharp materials " is well known." In the abstract to the paper they call attention to the period in which we are now living, the Anthropocene, in which "living biomass is outweighed by anthropogenic mass, alternative nesting materials  are increasingly being adopted by urban birds. With birds...anything may become part of a bird's nest."

The report is thoroughly documented, the methods and results detailed and fascinating reading, and the article is well-illustrated, including examples from the museum nest collection and nests found in the urban outdoors.

The nine page article may be read here. The title is neutral and the authors (5) point to the co-ordination.  The purpose of the museum is described in a memorable phrase at the top of the article.

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