To be as Smart as a Corvid !
The use of anthropogenic objects in nest building
Might have first been reported in 1933--a crow used barbed wire for its nest.
Since then screws, nails, bolts, wire, even syringes
Have been incorporated into nest building.
Not to be outdone, some avian engineers have used
Windshield wipers, sunglasses, knitting needles, and fireworks.
Perhaps the most bazaar and ironic is the use of anti-nesting spikes--
Originally meant to deter nesting in a building's eves.
The nests of a carrion crow and a Eurasian magpie--both corvids--
Were collected and examined by researchers in Belgium, Scotland, and the Netherlands.
One, Antwerp, Belgian magpie nest contained about 1500 metal spikes,
Gathered from 20 yards of anti-bird pins!
Originally thorny material was used to prevent predation on eggs and young,
But today, there may be more human made stuff lying around,
Than the 'old fashioned' formally desired natural biomass.
Such use demonstrates a modification of a pre-existing natural behavior
And the flexibility of material use in nest-building!
Oh, well, it might be enviable to be as clever and adaptive as a magpie!
Frank Maurer 25 July 2023
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