Street-light swallows

To: "Syd Curtis" <>, "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Street-light swallows
From: "michael norris" <>
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2010 22:55:32 +1000
HI Syd

A smart species!  Here's a posting to Birding-Aus in 2005:

"Further to Ben Whitworth's report about the amazing behaviour of sparrows at Albury, here's a note that appeared in The Australian Bird Watcher, Vol. 14 (3), September 1991, p.81.

Welcome Swallows Operating Electronic Doors

Upon our arrival at Rockhampton railway station, at 1800 h on 28 August 1989, we noted Welcome Swallows Hirundo neoxena flying around in the waiting room. This is a high ceiling area, windows around the upper part clerestory fashion, the centre of the room planted with tall trees and other plants. There was no time then to investigate, only to wonder how the birds got in and out.

On 30 August 1989, at 1400 h, waiting for train departure at 2230 h, we had leisure to observe the birds in the waiting room and noted a nest high up in one corner. There were a few people about, and once when someone walked to the automatic sliding door and opened it, one of the birds flew out.

Later, when no human was near the door, we saw one swallow fly back and forth, fluttering, in the path of the electric eye that controlled the door, and when the door opened, the two birds flew out! This was sufficiently out of our ordinary experience to keep us watching, and we observed two more instances of the birds letting themselves out, and one instance of the bird letting itself back in from the outside.

Concentrated observation time covered 45 minutes, 1415 to 1500 h. After that, the station had more passenger traffic going in and out, making it less easy to follow the birds' activities.

By Daniel McKnight and Barbara McKnight, PO Box 246, Glenwood, New Mexico, 88039, USA.

John K. Layton."

Incidentally Ben's report was about sparrows also activating an automatic door.

It starts me thinking about what could be done with a trained crow carrying one of those mini-cameras.....

Michael Norris


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