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March 21

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  • Dave & Cathy Ortiz
    This is from Birder s World Magazine. A friend saw a segment of Nova on PBS recently about these birds: Hi-tech Barn Swallows A couple of Minnesota Barn
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 21, 2006
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      This is from Birder's World Magazine. A friend saw a
      segment of Nova on PBS recently about these birds:
      "Hi-tech Barn Swallows

      A couple of Minnesota Barn Swallows have raised the bar on the scale
      of "Swallow IQ." For the past four years, a pair of Barn Swallows has
      nested inside the lumberyard entryway at the Home Depot store in
      Maplewood, Minnesota. At least one pair has learned that if they fly
      a tight circle in front of the motion detector above the double doors
      at the entry to the Home Depot, the doors open. Each bird then flies
      one more loop as the doors open and swoops inside where the pair has
      built a nest atop a small pipe near the ceiling. When a bird is ready
      to leave, it flies a tight circle in front of the motion detector
      inside the doorway and the doors again open for Home Depot's small
      avian customers.

      Keith Stomberg, a supervisor at the store, first noticed the birds
      nesting inside in the summer of 2001. He was fascinated by their
      apparent learned behavior and left them alone to raise their
      families. It was a good place for the swallows to raise their young
      because there were no predators or bad weather. The pair typically
      raised two broods each year. When the birds returned to nest in 2003,
      he contacted the staff of the Nongame Wildlife Program of the
      Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

      Wildlife biologist Joan Galli observed the nesting swallows and was
      amazed to see how the birds had adapted to the unique setting in
      order to raise their families. "We typically think of the crow family
      and the parrot family as among the most intelligent of birds,"
      according to Galli, "but apparently the swallows have a few tricks of
      their own that help us appreciate how birds are constantly adapting
      to survive in novel human-created environments."
      -- Carrol Henderson"
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