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Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

Posted by monicakm (My Page) on
Mon, May 3, 10 at 2:06

on my porch eaves. I asked this innocent question last year and was flogged for preferring to keep my porch clean of muddy nests and bird poop. I enjoy birds. I just don't enjoy the mess they make of my porch. Nests are breeding grounds for ticks, mites, fleas and bacteria. Histoplasmosis is an incurable disease that can result from contact with bird feces. And I want that on my front porch WHY?? :o Anyway,there were several people (most contacted me privately) that were sympathetic to my plight and hoped I found a solution. For those people, it looks like I've found a solution :) Even tho I tried the rubber snake route years ago (and it didn't work), I tried again. Looked out my window a couple weeks ago just in time to see a swallow landing in the same corner they've been coming to for years. Rubber snakes aren't fooling them! (lol) Then it hit me. I have some soft rubbery "netting" (for lack of a better word) that is used under rugs to keep them from slipping on hard surfaces. I hung a piece on two small nails, covering the corner. So far, no birds! I'll only have to have it up during nesting season. For the few that were also wishing they could find a solution, here's a picture.
Monica


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

Perhaps next year you could put up a nesting platform somewhere on your property. If the swallows had another place to nest maybe they would leave your porch alone.
Let's us know if the mesh keeps working.


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

Update: I *think* I can safely claim victory over the swallows that have been building mud nests on my porch for 25 years. It's been about 2 months since I hung this rubber carpet backing in the corners. NO birds/nests. But, they didn't give up. For the first time in 25 years, they just went around back and started building their lovely mud nests along the patio overhang Not even in a corner this time. We just hung some more of the same material. It has WORKED! When nesting season is over, I can just remove the netting and keep the tiny, nearly invisible nails there for next year. The netting just happens to be the same color as the patio/porch paint. No one has even noticed it.
Monica


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

It's interesting to contrast the 'how do I attract this bird' to the 'how do I repell this bird' threads.

May I ask when you moved into your current house? 25 years is a long time; I'm just wondering if the swallows were nesting there when you moved in. Not making judgements, just my own curiousity.

-O-


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

orrin, We built our home almost 30 years ago (Sept will be 30 years). The birds didn't come at first and the 25 years is an estimate. I've been fighting and/or putting up with them for as long as I can remember but they weren't a problem from the very beginning. We live in the country and enjoy birds in our yard, humming birds feeding from our feeders, songbirds chirping, drinking and fluffing their feathers in the birdbath. The only issue we have is this particular bird that makes a horrendous, ugly, health hazard of a mess on our front porch. Last summer after spending a lot of money and time to totally remodel the porch is when I decided I HAD to come up with a solution.
Monica


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

Yeah, you probably shouldn't have remodelled if it inconvenienced the birds...kidding, really, I couldn't help it.

I remember the details now from your original post and everything sounds completely reasonable. I was just musing, really.

-O-


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests/Orrin

-O-, THANKS! I really didn't think we were being unreasonable either, especially since we're the ones making the house payments (g)
Monica


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

A pair of Barn swallows began nesting outside my office door, on the strut support to the overhang above the doorway. I saw them scouting out the area and wondered where they would build. It took about 36 hours to create the mud and stick nest, bit birds flying back and forth with sticks and mud, laying it like a bricklayer.

That was the first week in June. She was sitting in eggs since early the following week , so I expect them to hatch the end of next week.

After they hatch, they should fledge about 2 1/2 weeks later. That sould be the first week of July.

Then it's over. They will fly to the field with their parents.

The building was being painted (actually they are building around the established building where I work and painting the old buildings) so I showed the foreman, explaining that if he were to take it down, he should do it before she lays eggs or has chicks. He rolled his eyes and said "We'll paint around them."

Which he did : )

She sits tight when we come and go. You can see her little beak and eyes peeking from above.


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

Monica,
Thanks for the idea of rubber 'bird netting'. In desperation I found this site. We too have a swallow problem as we have 4 sets of double floodlights on our patio which the birds love to build nests on. For several years they've chosen the same one which is ABOVE the main walkway. They babies just left the nest (so we destroyed it) and now we have two more pairs building on our lights one above our patio table and one above our gas grill. Anyone who bad mouthed you has NOT ever experienced this very unsanitary condition along with staining and ruination of concrete. And no, bleach WON'T TAKE IT OFF. I will be trying the rubber netting but I don't know how it's going to work on top of lights. We DO ENJOY all birds around here but the nasty nasty mess and dangerously unsanitary conditions would cause the health dept. to blacklist us should they ever come by.


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

Interesting solution, I might have to try this.

Have some small swift flying birds who have been trying to build nest on my porch even after I took off the bamboo window shades they were propping the nests against. We used the bamboo window shades to keep sun off the porch so we can use it in the scorching Virginia sun.

They started swarming my wife and 2 year old anytime they tried to use the front door - totally unacceptable. We need our front door and I will not have my children or guests attacked for trying to use our door. After these multiple attacks, which we decided to take down the shades once the babies were gone.

But now they are trying to build nests on our porch anyhow and exhibiting aggressive group behavior.

I haven't gotten a good look at them they fly so fast, I almost want to say they look more like chimney swifts, they way they dart about, and because I didn't notice much mud in the nest, but there is no chimney on my porch.

I like to have the birds around to eat the mosquitoes and they are magnificent fliers , almost like avian royalty. But the aggressive behavior towards my 2 year old is a deal breaker.


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

In the history of the world, a Barn swallow has neither killed nor maimed a child.

The mom on the nest outside my office door is keeping her babies warm. I slowed to look as I entered the building, and Dad zoomed me.

I remain unscathed. The chicks should fledge in less than 2 weeks.


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

elly: >>In the history of the world, a Barn swallow has neither killed nor maimed a child. <<

What kind of disease may they carry to that child in their feces? They make a very nasty mess! Wait until your 'babies' get larger and sit on the edge of their nest and poop all over your floor or anything under it. If it's only 2 weeks, it's a VERY L O N G two weeks! You can tell you don't have several of these bothersome birds. Today I can't even count the amount of them dive bombing me and trying to build 3 different nests that I'm determined they won't build.


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests2...

elly: >>In the history of the world, a Barn swallow has neither killed nor maimed a child. <<

What kind of disease may they carry to that child in their feces? They make a very nasty mess! Wait until your 'babies' get larger and sit on the edge of their nest and poop all over your floor or anything under it. If it's only 2 weeks, it's a VERY L O N G two weeks! You can tell you don't have several of these bothersome birds. Today I can't even count the amount of them dive bombing me and trying to build 3 different nests that I'm determined they won't build.


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

Where were all you people last year when I asked how to keep them from destroying my newly remodeled porch with their muddy, infested nests and the poop mess all over my porch?? (lol) I gotta few tongue lashings for suggesting that I'd rather them build elsewhere. Someone even said "I bet you own a 65" TV too!" Well, yes, as a matter of fact I do (g) How dare I care more about a clean environment for my family to live than the nesting needs of one species of birds :o Problem solved tho so all is well and I can enjoy the other birds in my yard :)
Monica


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

Minnie, it's a losing battle. Just go buy some of this rubbery netting for rugs and hang them on tiny finishing nails. You'll only need to keep them up for maybe 3 months max. Our patio and porch is so nice and clean for the first time in many years! Even if you wash down the nests after the season, it leaves the painted wood stained. I can't believe the answer was so easy :) Did you see the photo at the top of this thread? Around back, they tied to build along a straight edge about 3/4 of an inch wide. We'll leave the finishing nails and just rehangs the netting next spring.
Monica


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

Update on the swallow nest outside my door:

Both parents are now protecting the nest. No one at work has yet been killed.

The chicks should be about a week or so old. There is no feces below the nest yet.

Regarding the disease in their feces: no one I know has yet succumbed to that.

Instead of focusing on disease and "aggression" this is a great opportunity to teach children about nature.


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

When our church was faced with the colony nests of Cliff Swallows, one of the members suggested removing the nests with water. I patiently explained that they'd have to wait until after the babies had left, since the babies were already half grown at that point. The nests were removed in the fall, and the following year, they returned to nest on the west and north facing sides, instead of the east, where people walk in. It was then that the House Sparrows started ousting their eggs and taking over the nests, creating an even bigger mess than the first year of the Cliff Swallows. Eggs, tiny hatchlings, lots of debris and poop everywhere. The HOSP were very loud, too, making it difficult to concentrate when we were in the Prayer Room studying and praying. (The Prayer Room is on the east and north sides of the building). Anyway, long story short; eventually the weight of all the nesting material that the HOSP added, crumbled and destroyed the Cliff Swallow nests. The Cliff Swallows returned this year again and nested, but the HOSP again took over. The height of the swallow nests makes it difficult to remove them or tack up anything, so we leave it. The majority of the members of our church are elderly anyway (except for me and about two others, who don't climb ladders or paint).

We had painters come in Aug of 2008 and somehow the swallows missed last year's nesting until much later in the season. This year they're fewer in number, but the large Ten Mile Bridge construction and demolition (of the old one) is complete and there are *thousands* back there, nesting on the new bridge :)


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

July 9: the chicks fledged. Bye.


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

We cleared a place in our woods and built our house and shed here four years ago. Barn Swallows and Eastern Phoebes found our buildings the second year. BS built a nest in the top of the pole shed inside and being metal, the eggs baked in the heat. We keep the doors shut now in the spring during nesting season.
EP built their nests the following years on top of the shed door tracks, which is fine because the poop from the nestlings can be washed off the metal with a hose. Now that there are more of them they try to build under the gooseneck of our horse trailer. We never know when we will need to use the trailer so can't let them nest there. Taping bird netting onto the underside didn't hold so we stuffed every crevice with hay which kept them out.
We put up a nesting platform between two trees near the trailer, but they did not use it.
They also tried to build on top of our motion lights, but we kept hosing it off. I know how long the nestlings make a mess and we didn't want it on our cedar siding.


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

I was never successful at hosing down the nests. They'd come in right behind me before I even got in the door good :o It was an all day, every day battle. Glad you got your problem under control. Where did these birds nest before people started building houses, barns and bridges? (lol)
My porch looks so nice and clean for the first time in about 25 years!
Monica


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

One Day back in the mid 70's while I was stationed in Hawaii I was out fishing and started up what looked like tiny pieces of white coral, turned out I had Histoplasmosis. Got it probably from the Starling roosting in a large tree in our back yard when I was a kid. Now I'm sixty two and my chest xrays still show the residual calcium deposits which are often follow a histo infection. It can be a lot worse than what happened to me.
Check the link below

http://www.answers.com/topic/histoplasmosis


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

I too have issues with barn swallows, I live on a rural acreage in eastern Iowa. I love nature and have returned 5 of our 8 acres to natural prarie grass and wildflowers. I often see deer, wild turkey, red fox, toads, tree frogs and birds. Its all great but I too hate the barn swallows nest directly over my front door. for several years we played the "nock-em down" game and they simply build faster. This year early in the season before nests were started I literally scrubbed the entire porch with soapy water. Now they don't nest (they moved to the gutters on the back porch which is fine) they do visit though, leaving their poop behind. I worked for an airport for years and they use a gel applied to roosting surfaces as deterent. It is gooey and the birds dont like the feel of it(completely harmless).
I havent tried it at home but plan too, they also sell spike strips that are a little move unsightly but can work. I wish you luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bird Stoppers


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

merigold, forget the ooey gooey stuff and the unsightly and expensive spikes. The rubber mesh (find it at Walmart with the rugs) I used worked perfectly! Did you see the picture? And when they got all defiant and moved around to the patio to build along a <1" ledge, we hung it up there too and NO birds :) We've taken it down now, leaving the tiny finishing nails there for next year. I was actually going to buy the spikes till I had this epiphany :) The only thing I've found in those corners was a tree frog (lol) and that was just recently. He can stay :)
Monica


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

merigold, forget the ooey gooey stuff and the unsightly and expensive spikes. The rubber mesh (find it at Walmart with the rugs) I used worked perfectly! Did you see the picture? And when they got all defiant and moved around to the patio to build along a <1" ledge, we hung it up there too and NO birds :) We've taken it down now, leaving the tiny finishing nails there for next year. I was actually going to buy the spikes till I had this epiphany :) The only thing I've found in those corners was a tree frog (lol) and that was just recently. He can stay :)
Monica


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

Bump
for those that have been fighting these little mess makers for years (like me). Very simple to do and has worked 100% for us. No harm to any little birdies :)
Monica


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

I have phoebes nesting over my porch light. I think the only way I can keep wildlife off my big covered porch is to enclose it....which I would love to do.
The phoebes are much less messy than the house sparrows and robins that have nested there.

I think its neat......but we don't use the porch much. If we did, I'd probably feel the same as you.


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

Interesting thread. I sympathize with both sides and think the netting idea is ingenious. Carolina Wrens used to start building nests in cans of nails in the garage if I left the door up even a few minutes!


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

:) Simple, quick, very low cost, 100% effective and nearly invisible. The only thing I've seen under the netting is a tree frog (lol) Where did all these birdies nest before there were buildings, porch lights and cans of nails? :o
Monica


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

We have been swarmed by barn swallows, they started building nests on our building last weekend. We knocked them down every day for 4 days, but to no avail. I'm not talking about a few birds here, this is an entire colony, probably 100 birds. There were at least 10 nests on each wall of the house, 40 nests!!
Our building is very tall, about 25 feet at the peak and we can't reach it without scaffolding. I am intrigued with this carpet mesh idea, and will definitely try it for next year. This year is too late, I can't knock down their nests now, since they've laid their eggs and it makes me feel terrible to do so.
Has anyone had success with building an alternative nesting site away from their building? I won't have them nesting on the building next year, but I'd like to keep them in the area for their mosquito-eating skills.
Thanks


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How to Keep Birds from building nests in my front door wreath...

I have a major problem with birds, swallows I believe, building nests in my front door wreath. I have taken it down for a period, but when I put it back up, the birds are right back. I put a radio on the porch hoping the music would deter them and it did not work. This is a very annoying problem.Not to mention the mess they make on my front door stoop. We have lots of other areas birds have built nests around my house that are not bothersome. The front door area is a real problem.
I checked out the link below which looks very good but I did not see anything that would work in a wreath?!?
Thank you for any assistance.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bird Control


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

I guess if this were a thread devoted to discouraging an invasive species from preying on the young or expropriating a nest box from a more beneficial bird species, I wouldn't have a problem.

But this seems to be a thread by those who are not particularly invested in or interested in birds, wildlife, or nature. Perhaps you could find, start, or join a forum about nuisance birds. Last I heard this forum was supposed to be for afficianados of wild birds, and this thread is inappropriate to this forum. As one who has been innkeeper to generations of swallow families, I personally find this somewhat offensive.


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

Oh give it a rest. She wants (wanted - this in an old thread) a deterrent to protect her property investment. Nothing wrong with that. Get off your high horse. Sherron, take the wreath down when they are nesting.


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

Oh for the love of Pete! LOL! I'm sure the birds aren't homeless. They're fine, unharmed. My porch is clean and free of disease, it's a win-win for everyone. Sheese!


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

Well, I can sympathize. We had exactly the same problem. For years we enjoyed the cliff swallows (gourd shaped mud nest as opposed to barn swallows bowl shaped nest)until one year they came in mass (fifty plus nests on all sides of the house)and decided our main entryways were prime spots. That year was really really hot and besides all the poop we had lots of dead baby birds at our doorsteps. While contemplating a screening method as suggested above, we happened to have our house painted from a lighter color to a dark color. Don't know if that had anything to do with it, but they haven't been back in years.

On another but similar note, I have a robin that fights with it's reflection and creates a bloody mess on our west facing windows. For years I tried hanging things in the window to deter it. This year it dawned on me that I need to eliminate the reflection ~from the outside~ So I tacked up some landscape fabric over the two windows. It worked! And it's not really that ugly. From the inside the fabric is just sheer enough that you can still see outside. And the robins a happily nesting in their favorite spot.


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

There is nothing wrong with trying to deter birds from nesting on one's property. This just isn't the correct forum for this topic.


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Purpose of this forum.

"This forum is meant as a place for bird watchers to share their knowledge, their sightings and their favorite spots."

It is not a forum to discuss methods of erradicating nests of "nuisance birds."


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

She is a bird watcher sharing her knowledge. Funny, none of your posts in this thread relate to the purpose of this forum.


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

this is the perfect forum for just such questions, and I might add, the best birding forum on the net! The people here are so friendly and it is nice to be able to seek and share control measures when needed. At least we are just trying to get them to relocate, no one here ever mentioned anything about eradicating our feathered friends. The year the cliff swallows came in mass, we waited until the season was over and then and only then contemplated control measures for the following season.


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

Wow I thought we were alone in this problem. We have a covered porch with concrete floor and brick walls and beautiful white columns and railings. The I live on 6 acres, 4 of which are untouched wetlands forest. We have Robins making nests under my back deck, and we live them alone since no one is back there too often. The problem we have is the barn swallows that are choosing the three entry doors on my front porch to build nests over. First they were building on top of the surveillance cameras at each of the three entries. So we wrapped the cameras in nails using screening in to hold the nails in place. NOT A DETERRENT. They simply used the nails and screen as a support structure for their MUD nest. The reason they are choosing the cameras is that they are close to the porch ceiling and sheltered. This morning I washed them down with a hose cleaned up all of the bird poop of the windows, railings, concrete, door jams, door handles, and door mats (Its been a 3 week battle). Tonight I go out there after the guests left and what do you know.....they have now made their nests on the brick walls petruding out from nowhere. No Ledge, no light, no platform, nada. Now they re attacking us, flying at our heads when we try and use the door. There are no eggs, the nests are incomplete and still they are getting protective. The netting/rubber mat idea looks good but if they are simply choosing now to build on the walls, what good will that do? PLEASE ANY MORE SUGGESTIONS? The snakes, music, noise, owls, crows, DO NOT WORK.

Thanks,

RYAN- NJ


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

I feel your pain! I wonder if there is something you can spray on the brick wall that is offensive enough to the birds that they'll move on and build elsewhere (like places they built before they had eaves and brick walls to build on) Hope you figure something out!


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

It's that time of year again and I've been contacted by someone who's been putting up with this problem for 8 years. I've been getting emails every year this time of year from people searching for solutions.
I thought I'd bump it up again since there will probably be others looking for a resolution.
BTW, has anyone here used the netting idea?
And for the inevitable "you must be bird hater" comment, here is a picture I took this winter just 12 feet from the location I'm deterring the mud swallow from nesting. Not that I have to prove anything, I just wanted to share my picture :)


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RE: Revisiting How to Keep Swallows From Building Nests...

I thought I could upload more than one picture at a time. This poor little fella hit the window and was dazed for several minutes. Too bad the site resizes the photos. The detail is amazing.


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