Blue tit garden

Sweeping for Nests

For the second day in a row, I’m standing in my kitchen watching a blue tit collect nesting material from a pile of my floor sweepings. After sweeping my house a few weeks ago, I looked at the accumulated muck, which predominantly consisted of dirt and pet hair. Realising it was all biodegradable, I questioned the sanity of chucking it in the bin as I had done countless times before. So I opened the back door and threw it into the garden, little knowing I’d be doing a blue tit a favour. 

And that’s how simple it is, to work in tandem with nature. It’s equally simple to forget to pause and question your actions. Why would I throw biodegradable material into a plastic bag that goes into landfill? Why would I clean my floor with a vacuum cleaner, made of plastic and shipped to me from the other side of the world? Why would I use a plastic brush when a wood and bristle one would do just fine? Why wouldn’t I throw out my floor sweepings so birds could upholster their nests? (Of course, this would all be moot if my floors were covered in carpet, but that’s a whole other can of worms…)

There are so many steps along the path from common sense instincts to the disconnect from nature. It’s easy to get swept along on the tide of progress and the fact it’s good and inevitable. But it’s not always good and it’s definitely not inevitable, the choice to go blindly along with it or not is up to us as individuals. There are tiny changes staring us in the face, asking to be made, and these add up. I need to think more about how I’m a part of this world, rather than how I’m apart from it. 

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