Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Crows and Wind as Agents of Trash Dispersal in Suburban Landscapes.

Illustrated Abstract

The contribution of corvid activities to the prevalence of windblown trash is investgated. A loosely-lidded garbage can containing numerous small bags of household trash within a larger, but unsealed, plastic garbage bag was placed curb-side on a windy (gusts > 35 Km/hr) Tuesday morning in the presence of a large population of Northwestern Crows (Corvus caurinus).


Within one hour, the aerodynamic properties of the garbage can lid created lift, detaching lid from can. Lateral components of wind gusts sent lid a-tumbling in an eastward direction. Small, individual bags of household trash were exposed to elements and to a large population of C. caurinus. Crows were observed to land on rim of the de-lidded can and tear open small bags of household trash with their bills. Contents of bags were consumed, or tossed into the currents of air (wind), causing significant lateral displacement of trash particles. Several partially dissected small bags of household trash were lifted from the can and dropped nearby to be further investigated by additional individuals of C. caurinus. The garbage can lid was observed to continue a-tumbling in an eastward direction.

Upon the passings of numerous human children accompanied by adults, crows abandoned the study site. Lid was not placed back onto garbage can by either humans or crows.

The broader implications of crows working in concert with wind on household trash dispersal are discussed, and the term "culling" (i.e., killing) is thrown about wildly. The option of using sealed (by twist-tie or other means) large, strong garbage bags to contain smaller bags of household trash within properly sealed garbage cans is not considered.

"So get a new can why doncha?"

1 comment:

Horsin'around said...

Raccoons incite the same reaction. I know numberous raccoon haters who feel raccoons violate their right to leave their garbage bags lying casually at the curb.