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The unusual things found in Australian birds nests over 195 years

Gareth Parker
Article image for The unusual things found in Australian birds nests over 195 years

Australian scientists have examined almost 900 birds nests dating back over 195 years to determine how they have changed over time.

The world first study found about 30 per cent of Australian bird nests incorporate human-made materials.

University of the Sunshine Coast senior lecturer in animal ecology Dr Kathy Townsend said the most interesting find was in a metre wide magpie nest from 2018. 

“Inside were things that you couldn’t possible conceive of, there was things like coat hangers, headphones, saw blades, there was even a pair of plastic 3D glasses.”

(Photo: Kathy Townsend/ The Conversation.)

She said the materials the birds have used reflects changes in society over time.

“The very earliest nest we got … was from 1823, and not surprisingly back then there was no man-made materials incorporated in the nest from that time period,” Dr Townsend said. 

“The first time we started to see man-made materials was … about the 1890s but that was all biodegradable material.

“It wasn’t until the 1950s that we started to see our very first synthetic or plastic materials showing up in the nests.”

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(Photo: iStock by Getty Images.) 

Gareth Parker
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