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Birds Build Nests Using Bird Spikes!

Anti-bird spikes are commonplace in urban cities. The sharp pins and poles fitted on rooftops are meant to prevent birds from perching or nesting on buildings. But in an ironic turn of events, some intelligent birds are ripping out the metal rods and using them to build nests.

The birds' usage of the spikes came to light in July 2021. A hospital patient in Antwerp, Belgium, noticed an odd-looking magpie nest in the courtyard and alerted Auke-Florian Hiemstra. The biologist at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands studies how wild animals repurpose human materials.

Over the years, Hiemstra has found nests containing various unusual items. They include windshield wipers, sunglasses, and even plastic flowers. But the sight of the magpie nest, with about 1,500 thin metal rods sticking out in all directions, was like none other he had seen.

"I couldn't believe my eyes," he recalled. "These are birds making a nest with anti-bird spikes."

In the following two years, Hiemstra and his team discovered similar nests in other parts of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Scotland. Magpies are known to build nests with domed roofs that contain thorny plants to protect their eggs.

Hiemstra believes anti-bird spikes are an added security measure to keep predators away. The scientists never actually saw the birds pulling out the spikes. But the buildings near the nests always had a few missing.


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