More on Scaffolding

Dear Readers, I have mused about scaffolding and its role as a new habitat before, but today I was surprised to look out of my bathroom window and see not one but two squirrels, tucked in between the climbing hydrangea and the scaffold poles. I looked at them, they looked at me, and clearly they were horrified because they separated and ran. One went vertically up onto the flat roof, and the other escaped in the general direction of Durham Road.

For a while there was a bit of twitching in the leaves, but then the second squirrel bolted vertically downwards in an impressive display of acrobatic activity. And I hope that they enjoy their climbing frame because, at least in theory, the scaffolding is coming down in a few days. I will be glad to have a bit more light back in my dining room, but it has been interesting to see how various animals have been using it.

You might remember all the spiders’ webs that appeared in the autumn.

Well, last week I watched a little flock of blue tits systematically working their way around the poles, sometimes disappearing into them in search of spiders and other insects. I wonder if this is a much overlooked temporary addition to the habitat of many creatures? I might have mentioned that the first sparrowhawk that I ever saw in our garden was sitting on the scaffolding at the back of my house, surveying the scene with great equanimity while the sparrows went berserk.  If you’ve ever seen scaffolding being used in an unusual way, do tell! One reason that city foxes are so successful is that they seem to have a very developed 3D map of their territories, and are great climbers as we know. The photo below, from the Natural History Museum, shows a young fox exploring recently-installed scaffolding.

Pigeons and doves are fond of making their nests on scaffolding, and this can lead to problems – although it’s illegal to disturb nesting birds (even common ones) it’s a rare scaffolder who won’t put business over nature when it’s time for the scaffolding to come down. But birds can be very adaptable – have a read of this article by Paul Evans in The Guardian for a happy ending.

The rescued wood pigeon squab in a cardboard box. Photograph: Maria Nunzia Calderone

So, over to you Readers! Any scaffolding anecdotes to recount? Or any other tales of animals or plants using temporary structures? It always cheers me up to see how adaptable some animals are, and how quickly they will make use of, and reclaim, human-made structures. 

5 thoughts on “More on Scaffolding

  1. Anonymous

    The other week I was at Borough Market having coffee and saw a squirrel running along the internal scaffolding, not to mention all the starlings scrounging crumbs from ground and table.

  2. Anonymous

    The other week I was having coffee in Borough Market, watching a squirrel running around on the internal scaffolding. Trying to fend off the starlings scrounging for crumbs.


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