Birds and mobile phone masts, Dakar

There may be a large literature on whether or not mobile phones endanger human health and even a small literature on effects on bird health, but not too much on their use as nest sites by birds. This rather fine palm tree along Dakar’s coastal Corniche is of course not, so it was surprising to hear and see a pair of red-necked falcons attacking a pied crow that landed in its branches. More surprising when it was evident the pied crows had nested and the red-necked falcons perched on the “tree”, one disappearing into the centre and at least raising the possibility it was also nesting. This is a species that both the standard bird guides to the region note as associated with palms. A pair probably does nest in a  real and rather smaller palm in front of the USAID offices 6.5km away along the coast at Ngor. A quick google search found a BBC article on a pair of jackdaws that nested in a mobile phone mast pretending to be an elm tree in the UK, but the precise choice of a mobile phone mast imitating a favored tree is a nice twist.

Pied crows nesting on the mast and…..

one of two red-necked falcons showing territorial behaviour

Meanwhile, at Technopole the number of occupied black-winged stilt nests  is now  5 and the race is on to incubate before rains raise the lake’s water levels. Another 200 or so birds make this now the dominant wader. Bird life there is otherwise little changed, though with two adult Franklin’s gulls reappearing in the gull roost.

Amongst the mix of African and Eurasian spoonbills the one ringed bird remains for its fifth week.

Thanks for Otto Overdijk for the information that this bird was ringed as a chick in the Netherlands in 2010 and subsequently sighted by him in the Banc d’Arguin, Mauritania  in January 2012, the bird then wisely choosing Dakar. Birds may spend the first four years or so in West Africa before returning to breed, Senegal being a key country for these immatures. Their arrival here in Dakar in April, having been absent in the winter, is a pattern noticed by Flemming in previous years.






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