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Chad Richardson, Forum News Service, Published January 23 2014

Pigeons pick perfect patch for perch on new Hastings bridge

HASTINGS, Minn. – This one won’t end up going down on a list of life’s greatest mysteries.

It is, though, a rather peculiar sight day after day.

For some reason, pigeons have marked off a very clear patch of the new Hastings bridge as their own. They apparently have no interest in spending time on any other part of the bridge. Rather, they congregate on the northbound side of the bridge on the arch about halfway up.

“I have seen them there,” said Minnesota Department of Transportation bridge project manager Steve Kordosky. “I don’t know why they have selected that particular spot.”

Jennifer Vieth, executive director of the Carpenter Nature Center in Hastings, sees the pigeons parked in the same spot when she heads to work across the bridge every day.

She said she and a downtown business owner speculated about where the flock of pigeons would congregate once the old blue bridge was demolished. She said she guessed they’d stake out a spot at City Hall.

“I never would have guessed the smooth new bridge,” she said. “I’ll be curious to see what happens when our resident peregrine falcons get back from their winter vacation down South. Perhaps (the pigeons will) locate to the railroad bridge, where there is more area to perch that is protected from falcons.”

Kordosky said there’s nothing in the structure itself that would lead to that spot being any warmer than the rest of the bridge.

Both Kordosky and Vieth speculated that since that part of the bridge faces south, it warms up faster than the rest of the bridge.

“(That spot) catches the early-morning sun and warms them up quickest in the morning after our chilly winter nights,” Vieth said. “It’s also probably the most sheltered part of the bridge when our bitter northwest winds whip through the river valley.”