Ultimate recyclers

Posted May 2nd, 2011 by kcorliss. Comment (0).

We puff and posture and preach. But in the end we stumble and bumble to reach some sort of equilibrium with our environment. Take for instance the on again/off again debate about paper vs. plastic. Or how about the vigorous debate about wind power? You know where I am on that one.

But recycling is something a lot of people seem to agree upon. It’s easy where I live with curbside service. In rural areas the issue is quite a bit more problematic. Are we to ask someone 50 miles from the nearest collection facility to save all their glass then haul it to town when the pile is big enough? Not likely.

Better to watch nature and simply gaze in amazement at how this grand system works. For instance, the water we drink today is the very same water which this planet has always had, no more no less (barring comet strikes).

In a local park last week I got a peek at a small but very practical example. A black-capped chickadee was busy near the base of a tree as I came around a corner. First I was mildly surprised the bird didn’t spook and flee.

Curiously it seemed to be eating a fur-bearer which is not in the usual diet of chickadees although they do eat suet from dead animals. Whatever it was doing, it was so intent it didn’t flinch as I stood eight feet away.

The light clicked on once the bird raised its head and displayed a beak chocked full of hair. Aha, it’s gathering soft material for nest lining.

That ‘soft material’ was the remains of a red (or pine) squirrel in an ironic twist. Red squirrels, you see, will readily prey upon small birds and their eggs.

So in a biblical sort of ashes-to-ashes approach to it all, these birds were recycling a dead critter for use in bringing about new life; recycling in its utterly purest form.

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