Things crows use as nesting materials

29 Mar 2007   in Nests 3 Comments »
Contributed by YC & 'badaunt'

The nests House Crows (Corvus splendens) build are crude structures made up of interlocking twigs gathered from surrounding trees and shrubs. Together with these twigs are pieces of wires of various lengths and thickness picked up from around the area, maybe to strengthen the nest structure. The rusty wires can clearly be seen around the base of the nest on the left. Sitting in the centre of this massive structure is a neat shallow cup lined with plant fibres.

Tang Hung Bun observed a nest incorporated with knotted lengths of thick plastic. These are the pieces used in portable, petrol-driven machines that grass cutters use. The sweeping, circular motion of the pieces cuts off the grass blades. These plastic pieces often get detached, sometimes hitting passersby. The crows have obviously found a new use for these discarded plastic pieces.

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Straycat in her blog recounts the time when clothes hangers disappeared from his backyard. The mystery was solved when a nearby House Crows’ nest was seen with hangers jutting out from the side.

Now Badaunt has sent this message: “…I don’t like to admit it out loud around here, but I am fascinated by the clever crow hooligans that are such a menace in Japanese cities. Just yesterday I found a fabulously arty coat hanger nest high up a tree in a small park near my house, and got some pictures (right). In the same park there was another, ‘traditional’ crow’s nest – not a coat hanger in sight. Why do they do that? It makes the whole thing look very purposeful – one nest all coat hangers, the other none, like they were picking and choosing rather than just being opportunistic.”

She returned to the location hoping to get better pictures of the nest but discoverted two more nests nearby. A close up image on the left shows that the crows probably collected all the hangers in the neighbourhood. Please check out her subsequent posting.

These Japanese crows are Jungle Crows (Corvus macrorhynchos), and apparently they are compulsive collectors of coat hangers. I am sure if we leave a whole batch of hangers outside, our House Crows will take them all for their nests. Anyone game to try?

Input by YC and Badaunt. Top image by YC, hanger images by Badaunt.




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  • 3 Responses to "Things crows use as nesting materials"

    1. BadAunt says:

      I think you should try! Unless you have a tin roof, that is. I saw a crow carrying a hanger once (only once is a bit surprising, given the number of hangers in those nests), and it landed on the roof of someone’s house with it. The subsequent clanking and clattering must have sounded like the sky was falling to the people inside.

      When I was a child my mother used to give us kids colourful scraps of material and wool to hang in the trees in spring, and the trees in our neighbourhood had the best decorated nests in town. The colourful hangers reminded me a bit of that, only more bizarre.

    2. K C Tsang says:

      Hi,

      I have been noticing that our crows are getting to realise that they could also use some clothes hangers for their nest sometimes, but not to such an intense stage yet. I guess ours is not so tech savvy yet as the Japanese ones. Also we do not use clothes hangers as often as the Japanese. Bamboo poles are harder for the crows to lift.

      K C Tsang

    3. patricia says:

      thank you for the beautiful image. made my day. i was searching for a picture i saw years ago of a coathanger nest. i cant find it . it was in either nat.geographic or time mag. i think. yours is just as good if not better. love the colours. please take some more pics. please. trish in dublin ireland.

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