February 23, 2014 | After some strong winds the other day, a lot of crap appeared on my patio table, originating obviously from the fan above the table. A quick glance confirmed the presence of "deposits" on the blades of the fan.
This afternoon I got out my fan-cleaning brush to clean the blades. What amazed me is the number of small stones that fell down in the debris. By small, I mean between 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch in diameter.
The birds love to come roost on things under the pergola, and it's not unusual to find their droppings on the backs of patio chairs and especially on top of the light fixtures on the wall. But this is the first time I've been aware of them using the fan for the same purpose.
Two hypotheses suggest themselves:
(1) The birds are very indiscriminate eaters, mistaking small stones for slow-moving juicy bugs and gobbling them up. This would also suggest that they have awesome intestinal tracts capable of passing the stones through without fatal damage to the bird. Now it's true that some birds deliberately eat a certain amount of grit to help them grind up and digest their food, but this is ridiculous.
(2) The birds were trying to build nests of stone. (Thank goodness they're not emulating the third little pig and using bricks!) There's a lot of fibrous content in the debris — bits of grass, etc. It could be that they're trying to reinforce and hold together the stones.
In any case, I do resent it. I may have to leave the fan on all the time to deprive them of a roost. (When I lived in the condo a dove landed on a fan blade, and when I turned it on the poor dove became terribly disoriented, to my delight, and nearly fell on the ground!) But it does seem a waste of electricity.
Last updated on Apr 13, 2018