The Scavenger

I’ve always felt like a natural scavenger myself. Not in the behavior of eating as some animals but in the broader universal concept of survival.

I live in an urban environment where its a daily occurrence for people to put unwanted items out on the curbside for the taking. On many occasions I’ve found uses for these discarded items and get great satisfaction of being resourceful with something that would have otherwise ended up in a dump. I love the feeling of giving an old object a new life and thinking in creative ways in how to use unwanted things.

I’m not talking about some gross old mattress. I mean an old mirror, paint, a tree thats been cut down, a dying plant, a computer, frame, canvas, styrofoam, candle holder or a broken stool. The list is endless, but I think people can sometimes be too quick to discard objects that might need TLC, a simple repair or can be transformed into a piece of art.

I think as a culture we are groomed to throw away before we even consider repair or repurposing. Items today are so affordable most people can afford to “just buy a new one”.

Have you ever taken anything someone has thrown away and found a use for it? What was it? How did it make you feel?

I used to be embarrassed taking things considered trash by the people who’ve left them. It made me feel poor or dirty in some way and I was afraid of being judged. Now that I’m a little older I’m over those feelings and proud to have that scavenger bone in me.

Since taking up the hobby of Taxidermy I feel like a scavenger for dead things now, ha!

It was on my way this morning to volunteer at The Natural History Museum that I walked past the carcass of a bird. I found it just as pictured above. I liked the way the big leaf covered where its head would have been to give it some respect in its current state. I thought about giving it a proper burial or salvaging its wings and feet to use for a creature out of my imagination sometime in the future. I carry a plastic bag and gloves with me everywhere I go incase I run into something to Taxidermy. Why didn’t I take this bird? For one, I couldn’t accurately identify what kind of bird it was and didn’t want to risk it being a protected species. Two, it was pretty far gone and I would have had to keep it in my bag until I got home later in the day. Ewww. Three, it might still be a meal for an animal.

I wondered what kind of bird it possibly could be. Judging from what was left of its tail, wings and feet my guess is it could be an American Coot hen (female). Coots are waterfowl that I see regularly in groups swimming just down the street at a pond in MacArthur Park. Maybe a bird of prey dropped it after snacking on it from the big tree above where I found it lying? I really don’t know, its a mystery!