Feather waste

04Nov09

I looked at the three wheelie bins with the pigeon limp, soft and warm in my hand. Should I use the grey bin (household waste for landfill – high guilt), the green bin (plastic, paper and card for recycling – medium guilt) or the brown bin (garden waste for composting – low guilt)?

The pigeon had no opinion on the matter due to its broken neck, having accidentally flown into the window minutes earlier. I say accidentally, but it is possible that it was a self-inflicted injury. Who knows what goes through a pigeon’s mind on an autumn morning?

I was mildly irritated that the recently cleaned window now bore the greasy imprint of a startled bird.

The grey bin seemed the obvious choice. It is where you put things that don’t seem right for the other bins. But, unlike a mouse or a dalek, a fully feathered pigeon didn’t really look like ‘household’ waste. Unless I have an overly-conservative view of what constitutes a modern household.

The green bin was evidently wrong. The bird was not made of plastic, paper or card and would never pass as a discarded piece of elaborate origami. I don’t actually know if they are able to trace the contents of your bin back to you once they have been tipped in the lorry, but I didn’t want to get fined or imprisoned or whatever for ‘contamination’.

That left the brown bin. The garden often contains pigeons, just as it contains grass, bushes and leaves. The pigeon was entirely organic and would certainly decompose quickly in a well-managed compost heap. But… I paused… the compost users might be vegetarian. I didn’t want to offend anybody’s beliefs.

I walked back around the house to the bottom of the garden and carefully placed the corpse behind the bushes where the fox passes each day.

She would know what to do with it.



5 Responses to “Feather waste”

  1. 1 Ann

    You need another bin. I have one called the dogs, where all edible waste is recycled, and vanishes entirely within seconds!

    Though I did have a similar issue with what to do with pheasant feathers, and plumped for household waste in the end.

  2. 2 Becky Stafford

    Your blogs are always so descriptive Alex, makes them thoroughly enjoyable reading.
    I’m sure the fox will appreciate your gift of pigeon, I do love the fact you didn’t opt for the brown bin because you didn’t want to offend anyone’s beliefs. If only more people were so thoughtful 😉

  3. 3 John

    Like your thinking Alex. We have had a glut of suicidal mice throwing themselves onto the traps in the shed for some reason lately. Mrs M will not allow me to put them in any of the bins due to decomposition issues and I have to keep them out of the dog’s was as she (Mrs M) deems them unsuitable as dog food. I “Dispose” of them on the cliff where the local wildlife (seaguls)can deal with them. This backfired on me last week though as the dog thought it was a game and she kept bringing it back to me.

    • John – I’ve heard that chickens are as good as gulls for this. Would Mrs M let you get some chickens?

      BTW did the dog actually jump off the cliff to retrieve the mouse…? 🙂

  4. 5 John

    Cant have chickens as the dog will worry them it’s more like a steep hill but just known as Pakefield Cliffs.


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