Organisation - May 27, 2020

Blue tits are squatting in WUR ashtray

Text:
Roelof Kleis

Blue tits have taken over one of the ashtrays at Sterksel experimental pig farm as a nesting box. The result: nine gorgeous baby birds.

© Anny van de Laar

They must have been there for a while, but nobody noticed the squatters in the ashtray in front of the building at Sterksel Pig Innovation Centre until Wednesday of last week. A pair of blue tits have taken over the stainless steel ‘smokers’ pole’ as a nesting box and nursery. With nine baby birds as a result.

One smoker

Facilities and Services employee Anny van de Laar discovered the birds on her rounds last week, says the head of the Pig Innovation Centre Adriaan Vernooij. ‘No one had noticed. You can’t see the ashtrays from the canteen.’ And there aren’t many smokers at Sterksel. ‘We’ve only got one smoker here, who always uses the other ashtray. And we don’t get many visitors here nowadays.’

We’ve only got one smoker here, who always uses the other ashtray
Adriaan Vernooij, farm manager

rookstation Sterksel.JPG

The peace at Sterksel is not due to the coronavirus. Activities there have been wound down anyway, and the farm is due to close at the end of the year. Just a handful of people still work there. What will be done with the centre is not clear yet, says Vernooij: no buyer has been found yet. Most of the people who work there are on temporary contracts. Vernooij works for Wageningen Livestock Research, and the Sterksel assignment is part-time.

Chicks

The blue tits at Sterksel are not the only squatters in the country. A similar case in the town of Sint-Oedenrode was reported in a regional paper, the Brabants Dagblad. At a communications company there, an outdoor ashtray was used as a nesting box by blue tits too. In this case, it was due to the corona crisis. A member of staff who came in to the office after weeks at home discovered the nest full of chicks.

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  • Henk Gunnink

    Op 28 april als gezien dat er pimpelmezen in en uitvlogen en hiervan melding gemaakt aan de enige roker op Sterksel. Deze was er al van op de hoogte.


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