Barn swallows prove they are much smarter than you think

July 3, 2017 12:28 pm Last Updated: July 3, 2017 12:28 pm



There’s no definitive answer to the question “which animal is the smartest?,” but generally people can agree on a handful that rank among the top. One species that rarely shows up on any lists or comes to mind, is the swallow. However, after watching this video people may start to rethink their opinion about the intelligence of the tiny bird.

Residents of a condominium building in Norway recently noticed that barn swallows took up residence in one of their parking garages. While it may seem like an unusual place for a nest, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology barn swallows prefer to nest in the rafters of barns or sheds, as well as underneath bridges, basically an area away from predators and where there is some type of cross beam.

And what better place to create a nest than in a location where predators can’t access.

Svalene har lært seg å åpne garasjeporten helt på egen hånd! Har noen sett dette før? Se og les mer her:

Posted by NRK Vestfold on Monday, June 26, 2017


In the beginning residents noticed that the birds would fly into the garage after cars—when the automatic door was still open. Although now Ulf Bottolfs Andersen, chairman of the condo association, said the swallows appear to have learned how to operate the automatic doors by themselves.

Ragnar Syvertsen, an ornithologist, told NRK that he’s never seen such behavior from a swallow before. “There is no doubt that the barn swallows have learned this on their own over a period of time,” he said.

Interestingly enough it doesn’t seem like barn swallows in Norway are the only ones adapting to a more urban living space. In 2014 a man captured footage of swallows swooping in front of an automatic door to gain access to what once was an open area. Whether there was a door there or not, it didn’t seem to matter to the birds.

So much for bird brain being an insult!

In 2004, there was another recorded account of swallows taking up residence in a location you wouldn’t exactly expect. According to an article in The St. Paul Pioneer Press, barn swallows nested inside of a Home Depot for at least four years.

A store employee first noticed the birds’ behavior and said that in an effort to try and keep the birds out a store manager once locked the door, but quickly learned from his mistake after the birds “picked him and harassed him.”

A wildlife specialist said of the incident,” It’s very interesting and amazing to watch that they can make this work to their advantage.”

But he questioned whether or not the birds actually understood that flying in circles in front of the door was the cause of triggering the motion sensor to open the door.

By flying inside a building they eliminate a large portion of their predators, and in some cases gain air conditioning!

It’s impressive, and potentially worrisome. What will birds be able to do next?