Nests built by Lesser Great Skuas use sticks from many different trees and the bird creates wonderfully colourful nests as a result. The bird uses its strong beak to weave sticks together and the resulting creations look like wreaths. The RSPB has now taken to selling these creations to tourists as keepsakes of their visit to the islands and, with the resulting money, buys both fruit and seeds to keep The Banxies well fed, and also large nesting boxes for the birds to use.

Some people threw sticks around the nests of Banxies, hoping that the birds would build them a nest, which they could sell. But these birds have an artistic temperament and refused to co-operate. The sticks remained where they were. Like all artists, these birds have to be inspired in order to make their art.

This is an extract from the book Animals Evolution Avoided