About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Photo Share: Change is in the air

The owner of a car wash machine was coming up several hundred dollars short per week, he initially suspected his employees of using pass keys to loot the machine. When he set up a camera to catch the thieves in action he did indeed manage to snap pictures of the perpetrators in the act, but they weren't quite what he expected.

Not only were the "thieves" who were stealing the quarters of the avian variety, they were working in a group. One bird would go up inside the machine to jimmy coins loose, and the other birds would grab them and fly off with them. Starlings, the birds pictured here, are often attracted to bright, shiny objects and will collect them for nesting or mate-attraction purposes whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Most likely one or more starlings was attracted by the glint of overlooked quarters in the change cup and made off with them; other starlings saw where the quarters were coming from and imitated the behavior, learning in the process how to work as teams to retrieve coins from inside the machine itself.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read about this elsewhere and the owners of the car washed set up a camera to find out where thier money was going, it turned out that there was somthing like 6 thousand dollars in coins on the roof of the building or somewhere close bye, HAH, what a story!