Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Magpies Build Nest Using Metal "Twigs"

I thought this was a pretty cool story when I read it earlier this afternoon. I thought it was even cooler after watching Wall-E just now and getting a visual of what a "concrete jungle" looks like. For those of you who haven't seen it, the premise is that earth became so cluttered with rubbish it uninhabitable so humans had to wait out on a spaceship for 5 years while all of the Wall-E robots clean it up for them. The ship can return as soon as there's a sign of plant life on earth, which happens and sets the whole plot in motion.
The idea of a city with no plant life at all is pretty crazy, but not that far-fetched as natural resources become depleted. This story out of Hong Kong about magpies using building scraps from a nearby construction zone is very intriguing. It's common for birds to use man-made materials in their nests (some people even go so far as to set out pretty colored ribbon to entice birds to use it as a sort of science experiment), but for birds to make a nest entirely made out of inorganic material is incredible.

Image Source: 10000birds.com (click image to visit magpie article)

Even more incredible is what I saw on CapeCodOnline.com while I was reading the AP news story about the magpies—the page had a "More Times Breaking News" widget, with "Related Links" built in as well. Guess what site was featured in the "Related Links" section? The Cornell Lab of Ornithology! You know this is one of my favorite birding resources, and I'm glad to see them expanding their online marketing initiatives. Here are the two related links featured in the CapeCodOnline.com widget:

Learn about N. America's Black-billed Magpie

Learn about California's Yellow-billed Magpie

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