31 December 2009

An interesting way to feather one's nest

When I saw this photo in the Guardian's gallery of the best wildlife photos of 2009, I assumed the bird was performing an "oxpecker" service of removing/eating ticks, but the caption indicates that "Magpies pluck fur from the back of a deer at Ashton Court estate in Bristol."

I had never considered the possibility that birds might harvest nest material from living animals. Perhaps others do so as well. You learn something every day.

Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA

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