Thursday, 11 August 2011

Migration and Wheelie Bins - The Untold Story.

Dear Reader,

Whilst listening to the local news this morning I was somewhat bemused to hear that a provincial train line between pimplesthorpe and ducksbottom (or something similar, I forget the detail) had been disrupted by a wheelie bin on the line.

The wheelie bin is a truly global object, and as such has different labels in different countries so a picture should avoid any confusion.

Lesser Spotted Yellow Wheelie Bin - 1100ltr
I don't know if this is a global phenomenon, but in the UK trains can be disrupted by all manner of things, and quite often the description of the sentence ends with the words on the line.

A number of examples; snow, the wrong type of snow, leaves, cows, cars, sheep, caravans, dew, slippery rain, excessive heat, too many passengers, giant clowns (I kid you not) and illegal immigrants.

Now I must add to that list the wheelie bin. Having done a little research on the subject it appears that this is normally the result of some sort of vandalism, push a wheelie bin in front of a train, and oh how much fun ensues. Stick me in a room for an hour with one of these gentleman tied to a chair and we will see how much fun ensues, sorry, I digress.

What really got me about this was the news that the line was now running normally, by normally I mean running late as opposed to not at all. Apparently the wheelie bin had "moved away", this from the horses', sorry, newscasters' mouth. This is an easy mistake to make if you watch provincial news broadcasts. Oops, digressing again.

So the wheelie bin hadn't been removed from the area by diligent, long-suffering train line workers, nor had it been smashed to pieces by a train hitting it, no, it had "moved away", presumably of it's own accord.

The picture at the top of this piece tells us that wheelie bins have wheels (no shit) and therefore are mobile, although stairs would be a challenge.

Having researched this at great length (in my mind) it also appears that wheelie bins are migratory, and that their migratory habits are dictated by their colour and marking.

Taking the lesser spotted yellow wheelie bin (1100 ltr) pictured above as an example: predominant in the western hemisphere,  prefers sunnier climates, migrates South for the Winter.

It transpires that there are many species of wheelie bins, identified by colours, number of wheels, capacity, material and lid or lidless. For those who are unaware of this cornucopia of nature that exists in our backyards  I have provided a guide (not exhaustive) of some of the species resident in the UK.

Classic Black English 2 Wheeler (550 ltr)
The most common UK specimen, this is a largely static breed which enjoys interaction with humans. However   if a mating opportunity occurs, the Classic Black will grasp the moment with both wheels...

Black on Black
The male being the larger of the species. I was luck enough to get hold of an example of cross-breeding which apparently is quite rare, some Black males disapprove of this behaviour, which probably explains the nest...

Nesting Pair of Common Black and Regal Green
During the breeding season, less aggressive species such as the Regal Green and the Purple Haze will huddle together to avoid confrontation with predatory male groups of Common Blacks...

Regal Green and Purple Haze huddling for security and comfort

Rare more colourful species also exist...

Cross Gender group of Multi-Colour 350 2 wheelers
Who will mate with each other several times, their pigments mix, producing a new and unique generation. This is a rogue off-spring, a mutation, identified by the colouring. The exact reason for this has yet to be identified, however the free-love type attitude to breeding observed in the Multi-Colour 350's is thought to be to blame...

Mutation - Origin Unknown
This is not an exhaustive list. I have barely touched upon the fascinating migratory patterns of the Regal Green, and the mating rituals of the species as a whole. I think you will agree, however, that this is a truly fascinating and largely undiscovered subject which I have shared with you today.

I am merely an amateur in this field, but, dear readers, I am sure amongst you there are some who could contribute to this great science. Feel free to submit your own observations and photos through the comments button below...

More soon Dear Reader xxx


  1. I managed it I have returned..... Phew. Wheelie bins are indeed strange beasts. Being new to them, until recently I lived in an area of plastic bin bags an older and much simpler life form prone to regurgitating its food all over the pavement in the night leaving a right old mess. Anyway the point I wished to make is that wheelie bins have wheels and therefore should be rather manoeuvrable but ours appear to fight back and object to being moved on their weekly trip up the drive. Taking any opportunity to head off in the wrong direction. I therefore think they are genetically related to the supermarket trolley.

    1. You will find they are more or less obstinate at certain times of year. I had previously thought this may be related to cycles of the moon. Your comment about supermarket trolleys has got me thinking however. I should also be looking for a relationship to two for one offers in local supermarkets. It seems I have much to ponder.