Beautiful Swallows and the Ugly Sack of Crap

/, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Utah/Beautiful Swallows and the Ugly Sack of Crap

Northern Rough-winged Swallow on the ground next to a sack of crap, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, UtahNorthern Rough-winged Swallow on the ground next to a sack of crap – Nikon D500, f10, 1/800, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Two days ago I was up in a canyon in the Wasatch Mountains looking for birds and wildflowers, I found plenty of both to aim my lens at and took many photos of them. After driving slowly through the canyon I stopped by a campground to see what birds might be around the area, it has been fairly productive in the past so I always like to go there, check it out, see what is on the wing and listen to the sound of the creek that runs through the canyon.

I photographed a preening Barn Swallow on a fence post and in the parking area a bright yellow American Goldfinch male that grabbed my attention with his vibrant colored feathers. When the goldfinch flew off I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye and saw a few Northern Rough-winged Swallows landing on the ground behind my vehicle. I backed my Jeep up very slowly while keeping my eyes on the birds using my side view mirror, the birds were lovely flying in but there was something near them on the ground that I couldn’t quite make out but as I got close enough to photograph the swallows I realized that what I was seeing was an ugly sack of crap. Dog crap to be specific.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow with something crappy in its bill, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, UtahNorthern Rough-winged Swallow with something crappy in its bill – Nikon D500, f10, 1/1000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I’m happy that the people went to the effort to pick up their dog’s waste and put it in a bag but disappointed that they just tossed it onto the ground of the parking area, I guess they couldn’t be bothered to take the sack of crap with them to dispose of once they could find a bin?

The sack of crap was open, it doesn’t matter to me if they left it open or if a critter opened it but that sack of crap was what was attracting the Northern Rough-winged Swallows and photos of these birds with dog waste shouldn’t exist, yet now they do. One of the swallows plucked something from the exposed waste material and I happened to take a photo of it with what ever it was in its bill. At first I thought maybe the swallow had plucked an insect or larvae from the poop then I realized I didn’t really want to blow the image up and see what it might be.

What I really wanted was to be able to talk to the people who left the bag of dog poop on the ground and ask them to stop leaving sacks of crap laying around. Carry it out, how hard is that to do anyway? Why leave sacks of crap where wild birds and animals make their homes?

One might ask “who gives a crap” about a problem like this. Myself and many more people do.

A quote from an article John Kelly wrote for the Washington Post says what I think about these sacks of crap as well as I could hope to do:

“People, there is no magical Poop Fairy who comes along to make your poop bags disappear. She does not turn them into pine cones. You are responsible for your dog and everything it produces, and you must bring both the pooch and its poop back home with you.”

Birds and wildlife have enough crap to deal with everyday that humans have forced on them, they don’t need this crap too.



  1. Pepe Forte June 26, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    Ditto here. Paradise was lost with the evolution of humans.

  2. Linda Lee June 22, 2018 at 8:13 pm

    Frankly I think the poop bag thing was a good idea gone bad. I’d rather have something that could be decomposed rather than plastic in the wilderness.

  3. Marty K June 21, 2018 at 10:09 am

    I’m with you and Laura on this one. I carry poop bags and gloves in my trunk for just such an occasion. I’d rather pick it up than step in it.

  4. Laura Culley June 21, 2018 at 8:55 am

    Mind if I jump over to another smarter species–one that doesn’t leave messes in its environment that won’t wash away with a good rain and that fertilizes (blesses) its surroundings? I’m way too ashamed to be a human. I believe in a bell curve kind of array of intelligence, however, humans have adjusted the curve way far over toward the stupid end. I don’t want to human anymore! Just sayin’

    • Elephants Child June 21, 2018 at 1:46 pm

      Me too.

    • Mia McPherson June 21, 2018 at 3:02 pm

      I want to be another species at this point in time too

  5. Bob mcpherson June 21, 2018 at 6:26 am

    Well said,. Mia.

  6. Kim June 21, 2018 at 6:16 am


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