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Post Info TOPIC: BIRD BEHAVIOUR


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BIRD BEHAVIOUR


I was out yesterday looking at a local piece of water, when a Grey Heron emerged from under the water. The Heron had been completely submerged and came out with a fish, part of which it dropped, before it flew onto a fishing platform. The water in question is still.

The Heron was a foot to 18 inches away from the bank when it emerged.

-- Edited by Karen Foulkes on Tuesday 19th of June 2012 07:49:42 PM

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Male whitethroat showing off display flight and then singing from the top of a bramble bush whilst puffing out throat and head feathers, seemed a bit late in the season but a little gem none the less.

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Fascinating observation - worthy of submitting to British Birds?

Do the grebes have chicks of their own? And the other Oystercachers - could they be the Brun Clough pair whose chicks seem to have been killed?

Steve

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At Castleshaw tonight, one of the 2 Oystercatcher chicks took to the water when an adult started alarm calling. The adult joined it swimming across the reservoir. The adult took flight after a while and the chick was joined by 2 Great Crested Grebes who flanked the chick and started leading it towards the centre of the reservoir much to the adults displeasure!

The adult went berserk and was joined by 3 other adult birds who mobbed the grebes whilst the chick escaped thier attention by diving for several seconds at a time. The adult birds eventually landed on the water and ushered the chick back to the bank!

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I was out today in Derbyshire watching Redstarts at their nest (babies pulling through the wet spell OK!) and was pretty confident that there were 3 adults feeding one brood; 2 males and a female. At the same site last year I saw pied flys doing the same thing, but has anyone seen this arrangement in Redstarts?
Thanks,
Joe

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Jackdaws do the same in Lyme park. They pluck hair from moulting red deer.

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A friend of mine was working on his stepdad's farm in Yorkshire during lambing and witnessed Starlings picking wool directly off the back of sheep to use as nesting material

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11 Woodpigeon feeding this evening on one Privet just outside Skitters Wood, tearing at the fresh leaves. A similar number of birds have been feeding on the same bush for the past few days - spending time loafing on and around it when not feeding.
In the past few years, similar sized gatherings of Woodpigeon have been attracted to one small Ash tree nearby, (when its foliage emerges later in the spring), even though there do seem to be similar trees in the vicinity.

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Over the last week I have been watching a pair of Magpies build a nest in a Birch tree at the end of my garden. It is very near to completion, just part of the roof needs building to finish it off. The female bird which has unusually short tail feathers and the male have both shared in the building, though the male bird spends at lot of time chasing the Wood pigeons, Doves and Blackbirds away from the tree and surrounding gardens.

At about 5.30 this evening I noticed the male carrying something like a small piece of mirror or shiny glass into the nest. I'm not certain what the item was but it reflected light. I have heard that Magpies like shiny objects as jewelry and spoons have been found in their nests.

So I tried a little test, I tore up some strips of silver foil and formed them into 6 different shapes and placed them onto the lawn in full view of the Magpies. It only took about 10 minutes before the male bird flew down and inspected 3 of the foil shapes. It picked up one and flew back to the nest and placed it inside, it then flew down and picked a second piece up but tore this one to bits while sat on my fence. It then picked up the third shape and put it inside the nest. At this point another Magpie flew into the birch tree and caused the male to defend his territory and female, lots of noise and chasing about. When the male had calmed down he seemed to have lost interest in the other 3 foil shapes still on my lawn.

I will be interested to see if they are still there tomorrow evening when I get home from work

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A pair of Goldcrest were busy feeding in conifers in our neighbour's garden today (a Leyland Cypress and a Scots Pine) - rapidly moving around they frequently made flycatching sorties, involving quite a bit of hovering. As the birds' searching involved a lot of rapid fluttering among the needles of small outer twigs, rather than moving around the main branches and gleaning food directly from the tree, is it possible that deliberate 'flushing out' of insects was taking place?

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The local Wythenshawe magpies provided some entertainment at work recently - maybe it was a squabble over nest sites, but two pairs of magpies had a face-off which resulted in two of the magpies being down on the lawn with the other two sat on top of them - it was just like tag team wrestling!

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Dave Thacker wrote:

I watched a Coal tit visit my garden feeders late this afternoon. The bird would fly to the feeder, pick up a sunflower heart and quickly fly into the large Conifer growing next to the feeders. It did this every 45 seconds or so. It was only when I got closer and watched it through my binoculars that I realised the bird was placing the hearts into the nest box which I have put in the Conifer.
When the bird flew off I used my small endoscope to see what was in the nest box. It had a couple of peanuts, 6-7 Black sunflower seeds and more than 15 sunflower hearts all mixed together in the bottom of the box.





That's a super story, Dave. I wonder if one of the Coal Tit I saw yesterday was hoarding stuff? It skimmed my head as it went from a small feeding area in the farm on Clifton Lane and disappeared behind a brick wall with something in its beak, where the hedgerows are alive with birds and likely candidates to steal his stash!

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Hi Paul

Your probably right as the Coal tit is outnumbered by at least 5 Great tits which visit my garden and one of them is bound to see whats going on.

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Dave Thacker


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Dave Thacker wrote:

I watched a Coal tit visit my garden feeders late this afternoon. The bird would fly to the feeder, pick up a sunflower heart and quickly fly into the large Conifer growing next to the feeders. It did this every 45 seconds or so. It was only when I got closer and watched it through my binoculars that I realised the bird was placing the hearts into the nest box which I have put in the Conifer.
When the bird flew off I used my small endoscope to see what was in the nest box. It had a couple of peanuts, 6-7 Black sunflower seeds and more than 15 sunflower hearts all mixed together in the bottom of the box.



They won't be there for long when the local Great Tit sees him doing it! I have two Coal Tits visit my feeders and the Great Tits just watch and steal what the Coal Tits try to hide. Strange really, as the Great Tits can get all they need from the feeders themselves - and with a lot less effort!



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I watched a Coal tit visit my garden feeders late this afternoon. The bird would fly to the feeder, pick up a sunflower heart and quickly fly into the large Conifer growing next to the feeders. It did this every 45 seconds or so. It was only when I got closer and watched it through my binoculars that I realised the bird was placing the hearts into the nest box which I have put in the Conifer.
When the bird flew off I used my small endoscope to see what was in the nest box. It had a couple of peanuts, 6-7 Black sunflower seeds and more than 15 sunflower hearts all mixed together in the bottom of the box.

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The last 3 days there has been a carrion crow feeding on a small patch of grass in the middle of a housing estate. on sunday in pouring rain it was feeding well on worms that were near or on the surface, but the thing that got my attention was every 20 seconds or so between feeds it would call out, there were 2 distinctly different calls. monday when i passed it was feeding and today it was perched in a tree which is growing on the patch of grass, was it calling to other crows to let them know about the food supply or was it defending its new found meal ?. any ideas.

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John,

There are hatches of flying ants every year, but have never seen this before. Also, it was only 8.30 a.m. and I had witnessed no ants whilst driving or walking from my car into work. Letting my thoughts wander a little, I was inclined to believe that it was adults showing their young how to pick insects off the tops of trees in the Congo where there is dense jungle and the usual hawking methods are not as practical. Well I can dream (it's better than working too hard)!!!


Andy

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Charles Coutts wrote:

I observed the same behavour in Wythenshawe Park,but my birds were Swallows.
most of the actions were done by juviniles,for a millimetre of a second they seemed to stop in mid air,and peck at the leaves.




Massive flying Ant hatching yesterday,so every tree was covered in them,easier for the swallows and house martins to just pick em off the leaves

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I observed the same behavour in Wythenshawe Park,but my birds were Swallows.
most of the actions were done by juviniles,for a millimetre of a second they seemed to stop in mid air,and peck at the leaves.

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I saw something yesterday which I don't think I've seen before. It was 8.30 a.m. and from my office window I noticed 20+ of the nesting house martins wheeling around a very tall tree. Nothing strange there. But then I noticed they appeared to be picking insects from the leaves, some even landing for a second or two. They all seemed to be doing it and it went on for about ten minutes. After that, they all dispersed, and that was it, hardly a bird came near the tree all day. I'm quite sure that the first young of the year were on the wing, as numbers had certainly jumped over the weekend, and I wonder if adults were in some way teaching them what they had to catch and were starting with 'sitting targets', so to speak.

Anyone else seen this before?

Cheers,

Andy

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Andy, I witnessed a very similar thing last year on my neighbours car. A dunnock would persistently 'attack' its own reflection in the wing mirror of his car. I watched it do this every day for about a week or so. Very amusing to watch!! Probably quite stressful for the bird though!!

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I experienced something today that I had only read about before. I went for a walk having parked up in a lay-by off the Glossop Rd above Etherow C.P., and was away about an hour. As I returned and saw my car from about 50m away, I was aware of some movement near the drivers side door. I then saw it was a couple of birds, and upon raising my binos saw two blue tits frantically attacking my wing mirror. I got closer and could see that they were obviously seeing their reflections, and it was driving them mad. Sometimes they would look over the top of the glass, think the bird had gone, then look back into the mirror and start again. Once, I'm sure they thought the other bird was the image they were seeing, and they flew at each other and fluttered to the ground before seemingly thinking, 'Oh, it's you!' and then flying back up to attack the mirror again. I was able to walk right up to the back of my car without them noticing before I got fed up of waiting and moved into sight, whereby they flew up into a nearby tree to scold me. I checked the mirror and there were no food items that might have been drawing their attention. It was also evident that they had been doing this for sometime as there were a few droppings around the area, and the mirror was covered in the sort of powder that comes off birds when they hit my patio window. There even seemed to be a couple of small patches of blood. It certainly looked like it anyway. I thought robins would fight to the death and attack their own shadows, but I didn't think blue tits could be that violent.

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A colleague at work reminded me of an incident last year. I was in the driving cab assessing a driver on a Crewe to Manchester train.

The train was running express at about 90mph when a small flock of woodpigeons took flight from the track in front of us. Most of the woodys flew into the adjacent fields but one individual tried to out run the train. Just before it hit the windscreen and met it's messy end, it layed an egg which smashed on the windscreen moments before said ex Woodpigeon.



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Interesting article on BBC website tody about Ravens and their stress levels!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_9390000/9390840.stm

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Sparrow hawk flying low across m61 near to junction 5 , two days on the run. possibly hunting redwing, the trees lining the motorway on my drive from the A580 to junction 5 have had lots of these birds in them.

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Hi Mike.

I've not seen any of the other birds doing it, so far. Maybe that's because it's the sparrows regular patch. The blackbirds are happier under the thicker vegetation where there is less snow.

Cheers

Mike C

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Hi Mike,
the sparrows are doing the same thing in our garden. The blackbirds are doing something similar - bellyflopping in the snow and staying there for a minute or so.

cheers
Mike

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In the catagory of 'bird behaviour I've not seen before' :

Most of our local House Sparrows are dust-bathing in the snow under the bushes around the car park. It's where I've been putting food out for them, so at first I thought it was just forageing activity, but a better look revealed what they were up to. There's a large conifer nearby, which is where they roost, so maybe it's a Roman style sparrow sauna: the conifer's the caladarium, the bushes the tepidarium and the snow the frigidarium! Certainly cold enough to freeze the mites off anything

Also heard what sounded like a sneeze from one of the local Carrion Crows

-- Edited by Mike Chorley on Wednesday 22nd of December 2010 01:25:04 PM

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Thank you for that guys.

This is the first year that we have had Coal Tits in the garden. We usually have the usual Sparrows pigeons and starlings with the occasional vist by the dunnock but this year we have the coal tit and 3 blue tits and spotted a great tit as well

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Saw something yesterday that I have never seen previously and that was a Dipper swimmimg on the surface of a rapidly flowing river, the river Kent near to Sizergh Castle. I have read that they do this but is it common behaviour?

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Great Tits are known to sometimes watch exactly where the Coal Tits are food caching in order to help themselves to the stored goodies as well. smile.gif

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Hello Ian,
this is normal behavior for Coal Tits and Jaysat this time of year, not always in lawns but in cracks in trees as well
Cheers
Mike

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Hi everyone,

Has anybody every noticed whether Tits or birds in general bury seed, as i have observed a Coal tit in my garden picking out the sunflower seeds from the feeders and burying them in different location in the garden

Regards
Ian

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On the subject of Jackdaws - twice at Inner Marsh Farm I've seen and photographed a Jackdaw mobbing Terns both of which happened to be rather rare terns at that. I wonder if it is food related i.e. to mob the gull/tern in the hope of an easy meal, or something else?

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During this evening's gull roost at Pennington there was a group of about 20 Jackdaw swooping around practically at water level, among the gulls. They then flew to a tree on Ramsdale's before moving across the flash to the roost site later. A short while later another group of about 30 Jackdaws did the same, twisting around among the gulls. Other than a few short dashes there didn't seem to be any real attempt to harrass the gulls, other than one Jackdaw breaking away to pursue a Common Gull which took up. As the Common Gull was flushed from rest amongst the roost I doubt that it was carrying any food item. The Common Gull eventually turned and chased the Jackdaw, which re-joined the rest of it's group as they flew to trees on Ramsdale's.

I saw a group of Jackdaws behaving like this among the gull roost last week in a short visit during atrocious weather last week. Other than that I'd never seen this, despite there having been a Jackdaw roost occurring during gull roost counts last winter.

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Mark Rigby wrote:

Absolutely stunning. Must be some sort of camera trickery wink.gif






I thought there might have been a bit of camera tom foolery, but on seeing the video I hold me hands up!! biggrin.gif

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smile.gif Superb, enjoyed seeing that, sat on his arm and hand aswell, excellent

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Absolutely stunning. Must be some sort of camera trickery wink.gif

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How about this for some nice bird behaviour..


http://fair-isle.blogspot.com/2010/11/waxwings-oct-25th-2010-day-well-always.html

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Mike Passant wrote:

Hi Karen,

What a strange thing with your Grey Wagtail.

- Not sure what to suggest really.
I do wonder though as to the cause; - I have seen in Pied Wagtails a tendency from time to time to take exception to reflections in car wing mirrors, and I wonder if the behaviour you note with your bird started with it pecking at the wing mirror(s) with resultant mounting frustration at not being able to see off its imagined rival.
Could it be that a change of strategy has developed from there, with the bird now trying to attack the thing (i.e.vulnerable bits of the car) that it most associates with its "enemy" the reflection?
I wonder if it would do any good, if when the car were parked up, a pair of old gloves were placed one over each of the wing mirrors, then the offending bird might think its rival had been vanquished and cease its attacks?

Cheers,
Mike






We had a Dunnock earlier this year that used to have 'fights' with my wing mirror. We saw it almost on a daily basis for about a 4 week period.

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Hi Karen,

What a strange thing with your Grey Wagtail.

- Not sure what to suggest really.
I do wonder though as to the cause; - I have seen in Pied Wagtails a tendency from time to time to take exception to reflections in car wing mirrors, and I wonder if the behaviour you note with your bird started with it pecking at the wing mirror(s) with resultant mounting frustration at not being able to see off its imagined rival.
Could it be that a change of strategy has developed from there, with the bird now trying to attack the thing (i.e.vulnerable bits of the car) that it most associates with its "enemy" the reflection?
I wonder if it would do any good, if when the car were parked up, a pair of old gloves were placed one over each of the wing mirrors, then the offending bird might think its rival had been vanquished and cease its attacks?

Cheers,
Mike

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Why not?



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A Grey Wagtail has fairly recently started attacking my aunt's car. This consists of the bird constantly pooing on the car and attacking the windscreen wiper, so much so that it has even managed to break one!

My aunt's car is a silver colour and it also attacks her neighbour's car to a lesser extent which is blue, but it leaves my uncle's car alone, which is red.

Other than putting a bird of prey silhouette on the car, which is impractical, or buying a a new car, has anybody out there any ideas of a solution to this problem?

Cheers Karen

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Was walking along a country lane this morning near Handforth - only just outside the southern edge of GM and had already watched a small (c20) but vocal flock of Teal along with 2 Snipe and 5 Meadow Pipits in a flooded field. After a walk a bit further along the lane, I thought I could hear the distinctive calls of adult male Teals coming from above head height in a large dead tree at the side of the road confuse.gif Looked up and a flock of Starlings were present - several of which were perfectly mimicking these Teal calls. I know Starlings are renowned for their mimicry but this is the first time I've heard them "doing" Teal. Brilliant!biggrin.gif Just sets the mind thinking, what purpose such mimicry at this time of year serves....if any?


Cheers,


Bill.

-- Edited by Bill Myerscough on Friday 5th of November 2010 05:01:08 PM

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A friend of my wife witnessed some interesting behaviour by a Blackbird in her garden.It was picking slugs up and rolling them in a nearby pile of seeds, giving the slug a nice coating, before flying off. Looks like the youngsters where getting sesame seed slugssmile.gif

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I have just been watching a Sparrowhawk soaring around Swinton town hall which was being mobbed by up to 10 Swifts. Each Swift dive bombed the Hawk in turn getting very close indeed. Unfortunately one of the Swifts got too close and as it dived in the Hawk turned on its back and managed to catch the bird with its talons. The Swift tumbled to the ground landing on the gardens in front of the town hall about 50m in front of me. It was still alive and as I started to run over to get it the Sparrowhawk dived down and landed on the Swift. Then two of the resident Crows flew down and one of them mobbed the Hawk moving it from the Swift which the second Crow picked up and just managed to fly onto the new offices at the side of the town hall as the Swift was still flapping about.

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i once heard reports of 11 helpers(!) to a single nest. you certainly coundn't call those chicks neglected!biggrin.gif

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Long-tailed Tits carrying small bills full of insect food into nests (usually situated in brambles) have been particularly conspicuous in the last week or so - I have recorded 8 pairs carrying food into nests across different parts of GM between 2/5 and 9/5. Today on my wanderings I came across one pair carrying food into a nest and around a quarter of a mile or so away another nest was found but this had 5 separate adult birds carrying food into the nest in the space of less than 1 minute, plus from the calls being made behind me, at least 1 possibly 2 other birds were waiting to do the same! I am aware that many nests of this species have "helpers" - some statistics put the number of nests with helpers in quite high percentages but this is the first time that I have seen so many birds helping around a single nest! I understand from my readings that many of the helpers might be family members who have failed in their breeding attempts this year but it does make you wonder why they don't rebuild, as only yesterday I was watching a pair of LTT building a nest elsewhere in GM, at a time when most adults are getting ready to bring fledged young out into the big wide world. In fact it should be any day now - my first record of fledged young seen last year was on 9/5/09.

Does anyone have any figures on max numbers of helpers at a LTT nest?

Long-tailed Tit nests.....now what truly awe-inspiring structures they are! jawdrop.gif

Keep atlasing!

Bill.


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I made a quick visit to Brabyns Park in Marple today and watched a Moorhen break and then eat the yolk of a Moorhen egg.
I'm guessing that the bird in question was most likely a male and committed the act so he could have a chance to breed with the female?

Any other theories?

Anthony

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On two mornings in the last week I've watched a chiffchaff feeding on the lawn in my back garden. Anyone know if this is common? I was a bit surprised to see it in the garden at all as I would have thought of them very much as woodland birds. I would also have expected it to be much more arboreal so to see it feeding on the lawn was a bit of a surprise.

As I type this I'm also listening to a song thrush outside the window, who's repertoire includes mimicry of a blackbird alarm call and I think possibly a greenfinch. Near my university accomodation there is one which is a very clear mimic of some sort of car/house alarm, possibly the college fire alarm which is tested weekly!

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Following on from Bill, John and Steven's comments about Jay mimicry on the Stamford boating lake thread. A couple of weeks ago I was walking along the River Roch in Smallbridge and heard repeatedly what I assumed to be a Grey Heron calling from nearby trees.
When I finally located the source of the calls it turned out to be a Jay and I could see its bill opening as the call was made. It just goes to show that recording birds just on call may lead to mistakes!

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