African birds create massive colonies on utility poles

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In an environment where trees are vanishingly rare, the pseudo-trees that humans erect become a nice substitute for the real thing.

This article definitely deserves the “delightful creatures” tag :slight_smile:


There used to be lots of osprey nests on the power poles spanning the Currituck Sound next to the Wright Memorial Bridge on Rt 158. Since the birds interfered with reliability and maintenance, the power company put up wooden platforms to control where they built the nests.

When eventually new higher capacity electrical lines were put up, the old poles were left in place, still with their nesting platforms made of wood, to keep the ospreys from nesting on the new poles. Worked fine as far as I could see, at least until most of the platforms rotted away.

Last year the wood platforms were replaced with aluminum… and apparently at least one pair of fish hawks gave 'em a try. But I was down there a week or so ago and there’s no nests there any more.


Bull weavers are friggin awesome. Or weavers in general. Just imagining getting things done without hands always makes me smile.


This Audubon article gets into how the weaver birds survive the extreme heat and cold of the Kalahari by building these nests (coinkadentally, the photo on this post is used in the article), and also the other birds who also move in:

Speaking of incredible bird architecture, though I’ve never been lucky enough to witness these weavers at their work, I have seen a starter nest being built by two quaker parrots, the only kind of parrot that builds a stick nest. It was smaller than the one in this video, shaped like a long oval, but bristling with the ends of the sticks, with the opening low on one side, perfectly smooth, with every stick placed just so. Amazing little structure, with the blueprint for all this set right into their fractious little heads:


RIMMER: Thanks muchly. (He turns to go, then back again.) Oh, Camille.
It’s just a silly thought, really, but I thought perhaps after you’ve
settled in and you’re feeling up to it, we could pop up to the
projection room and I could talk you through my photo collection of
twentieth-century telegraph poles.
LISTER: Yeah, or if you fancy a slightly more entertaining evening, you
can just let him take you outside and shoot you through the head.
RIMMER: As it happens, Listy, Camille is into telegraph poles every bit
as much as I am. Especially the 1952 Phase Fours with the triple-
reinforced wire.

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Here in the US quaker parakeets build enormous communal nests on telephone poles or any other tree substitute they can find. Here’s one in a radio antenna:


These videos are really interesting, the one with the bird angling to pop the top on the bird feeder, and then the final frame of the Sparky video was just mind-boggling. My ringneck parrot is relentless about nesting, but to see the drive made manifest like that is something else.

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