Monday, June 14, 2010

Bad birds and buildings

Avian architecture critics? A bird has put a temporary stop to one building, and a bunch of them have caused a fuss by bypassing one building for another. And as is typical, some of the humans involved don't know whose side they are on.

In England
, a goose has put a hold on a one million pound building project:

The bird has laid three eggs right in the middle of the building site and has been given her own bodyguard to protect her and her brood.

Security guard Jake Fielding has been assigned to give the Canada Goose 24-hour protection and takes his duties extremely seriously.

A spokesman from Fitzgerald admitted that the goose was a source of both amusement and annoyance.

He said: 'The goose has been her for about three weeks now, and she's settling in quite nicely, which is unfortunate for us."

In California, some birds have apparently retired from their career as a tourist attraction to spend their time at a golf course.

The famous swallows that nest at the historic Mission San Juan Capistrano bypassed their traditional summer home for a newly built country club with a golf course:

Facility director Travis Blaylock says the birds' arrival took everyone by surprise.

"I saw a few one day and then it's like they went and told all their friends, 'Hey, I found the spot,'" he says. Soon, thousands of swallows were busily building their conical mud nests.

It took the colony about a week to spit together hundreds of nests along the eaves. Blaylock said their collaborative effort impressed staff and club members.

"If only the contractors I've hired in the past worked as well as these birds," he says with a laugh.

The club's PGA golf pro, Bob Emmons, gave the birds two thumbs up for style.

"What really impresses me is how they color coordinated the nests with the building," he says with a wry smile.

The birds cause extra cleanup because of debris that falls from their nest, and there's the other obvious problem:

Blaylock, who is chief bird watcher and guardian, keeps six extra shirts in his office.

"I've been bombed twice in one day," he says. "I've learned my lesson." He's quick to warn visitors to close their mouths when they look up at the nests and swooping swallows.

Despite this, the staff are inexplicably enthusiastic about the intruders. While the Mission is working with an ornithologist to come up with a plan to lure the birds back, the golf course would be pleased to have them back next year.
"We have everything they need right here at the clubhouse," Blaylock says. "Why would they go anywhere else?"

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