Tuesday, 16 May 2017




Danger for Pied Crows – ropes

Photos and text by Stefan Rust

(In terms of the Geneva Convention the copyright of these texts belongs to Stefan Rust)

                                                          Pied Crow                                  roadkill victim

The Pied Crows have increased in range and abundance in the Karoo because of increasing numbers of roadkills on roads and because of adapting to build their nests in telephone and powerline poles. Before these man-made structures were there, there were no nesting possibilities, no big enough trees in the Karoo. The creativity of these birds results in them including wire, sometimes only wire, and often ropes (used to wrap grass blocks), as thick lining into the nest structure.

Pied Crows are experts in finding vacant niches

Its close association with human settlements offers these birds enough possibility to find ropes. This habit of adding ropes as lining material into their nests often is a deadly trap, birds get entangled in these ropes while nesting and can’t free themselves.

Ropes lying around – a deadly trap for Pied Crows when using them as lining material in their nest structures.

Farmers often have to feed their stock with grass blocks that are wrapped with ropes. After untying the supplement grass, the ropes are left lying around in nature, being collected by birds and ending up in their nests.


To make farmers aware of this danger, BirdsConTour arranged a BirdsConTour for a cleaner Bird Habitat cleaning session on the 15th of November in the North Cape, South Africa, alongside the Cape Namibia Route (N7) in front of a road construction roadblock near Vanrhynsdorp. Litter was collected next to the road while many vehicles were stopping at the roadblock.

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