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I live in a semi-rural area in Germany, close to a park which trains go through every 20 minutes.

Today, I saw something that left me perplexed.

There is a large population of birds that look like crows or ravens, yet fatter. They seem to be quite social and move around in large groups. Today, I spotted one carefully laying sticks from a nearby tree on the train track while the others seemed to spectate.

What exactly was that bird doing? Is this common? Did it have a purpose, or was it just coincidental?

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Some corvids do use tools, and are fast learners. Could these be using the train and tracks as tools to cut sticks up smaller? –  EnergyNumbers Feb 2 '13 at 10:50
There is a book, In the Company of Crows and Ravens that details human-corvid interactions. That might provide insights for you. The link is: yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=0300100760 –  kmm Feb 2 '13 at 14:05
@Kevin - Thanks, reading it. –  Francisco P. Feb 2 '13 at 16:12
@EnergyNumbers - I want to believe :) –  Francisco P. Feb 3 '13 at 0:53
If the birds are doing in this in a place where you can watch them repeatedly, why not set up camera to watch them? I recommend a pocket camcorder with a big SD card (which is nice to have in general). I don't think anyone will be able to tell you for sure without footage of what they do after putting them on the tracks. They could have just chosen a really bad place for a nest, or it could even be courtship behavior. –  Atl LED Jan 8 at 14:28
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