City birds love to live in mailboxes

These mailboxes are unused and dedicated to birds that wish to live in them. / Travis S./

The Daily Telegraph recently highlighted birds building nests in inappropriate human spaces. The upshot: they love mailboxes and those new outdoor, enclosed metal ashtrays.

Sure, there was the odd urban explorer making a home in traffic lights, but most pix were of blue tits–sparrow-sized birds with appealing blue and yellow coloring–in mailboxes. It may be just that blue tits make wonderful subjects of photography and pity. A sparrow or starling moves into a stoplight and somebody might evict it rather than doing a photo shoot and posting a sign telling everyone to keep their mail out.

Looking around, I see that mailboxes are a universal favorite of nesting urban birds. Here in New York, where dainty post boxes are rare, they make do with dangerous nest on fire escapes, under air conditioners or in the horizontal poles that make a counterweight to traffic lights.

pelicanpuffinhummingbird Where to SEE WEIRD BIRDS (All the interesting birds: pelicans, puffins, prairie chickens, vultures, hummingbirds)


Ashtray with sign: "Please do not use. Bird nesting" / by Jody Digger

English mailbox with sign warning of bird nest

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