Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Plastic Birds

The other day I read about blogs that deal with more important things than minutae of the author’s life. Political blogs, news blogs etc. This blog isn’t about to be one of those, but the following is something that has bugged me since I read about it. I want to share it with you. I feel it’s relevant considering my recent mention of pelicans.

Regular readers of this blog will be aware of my fascination with animal skeletons. I think they’re cool. This one isn’t cool. What you're looking at is a rib cage full of plastic.

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Until I read this article I thought that plastic bags were the main problem when washed into stormwater drains, only affecting local/Australian wildlife. Think again. This sad little skeleton is evidence of something bigger than that. All plastic washing into stormwater drains, and into the sea is dangerous to wildlife - particularly to birds. What’s more it can swirl around in the sea for decades, spreading around the globe, breaking up into more pieces, spreading further still.

What's the story behind the skeletons? On Lord Howe Island a flesh-footed shearwater chick is too weakened by starvation to move away from humans. Its belly is full of plastic. How did this happen? Its parents would have ingested this plastic when finding food for their chick. When they regurgitated food they also regurgitated some of the plastic. While smaller pieces may pass through, others will sit inside the stomach, taking up room. Too much accumulated plastic and there’s no room for food.

After reading this article - and before typing this up for you today - I went out to the front of my house and into the back lane behind it, to clean up every bit of plastic I could find. Not just bags, but anything plastic. It was the least I could do and I will continue to do this on a regular basis. I will make a small difference to birdies/critters out there somewhere :)

In other news...
The days are getting longer now. Hooray, past the half way mark for Winter!

*Hutton Ian, ‘Plastic Perils for Seabirds’, Nature Australia, Spring 2004, page 58


Blondie said...

How awful! I'll be sure to do the same.

Lady Meerkat said...

Glad to hear it. The way I see it, we can all make a difference. Though we're individuals, collectively we can make a positive impact through our actions.