Researchers spot ‘crazy’ nests made by crows using bird-repelling objects
In a striking example of birds adapting to urban environments, researchers have identified some crows and magpies making nests using bird-repelling objects. Researchers have recovered some nests from trees in Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Antwerp in Belgium made up of metal spikes and strips which are often attached to buildings to deter birds from making nests on the structures.
This shocking revelation led the scientists to further look for more such nests on the internet, and they managed to find two more, one in Enschede in the Netherlands and another in Glasgow.
“I didn’t expect this. These anti-bird spikes are meant to deter birds, they are supposed to scare them off, but on the contrary, the birds just utilise them,” Kees Moeliker, the director of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam, was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
Researchers noted that while crows used the metal spikes merely as a construction material, magpies went a step further. Magpies installed those metal spikes at the roof of their nests to prevent predators from settling in there.
“Even for me as a nest researcher, these are the craziest bird nests I’ve ever seen,” Auke-Florian Hiemstra, a biologist at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center, said.
Dr Jim Reynolds, an ornithologist at the University of Birmingham, pointed out the sheer irony in this growing phenomenon among birds. “I was really struck by the irony, to take anti-bird devices and use them to their own ends,” Reynolds said, adding, “They are even more amazing than I think they are.”
Birds increasingly adapting to urban environment
Birds have been observed using materials from urban environments in their nests before. In 1933, a museum in South Africa documented a crow's nest made of copper, iron, and barbed wire. Over the years, birds have incorporated various items like nails, screws, and even discarded syringes into their nests.
Recently, a group of European researchers issued a warning about approximately 200 bird species. These birds construct their nests using human litter, which poses potential hazards. The litter includes items such as cigarette butts, plastic bags, and fishing nets.