Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Mouse in the Woods -- Eeeek!

Jo and I found this Mickey Mouse birthday balloon while walking in the woods the other day. We find an escaped party balloon in the woods every year or so. This one more recently made landfall and is in better condition than most.

I've often wondered about this lighter than air litter. On the one hand, finding a balloon only once every year or so doesn't exactly make them a major source of litter. They certainly aren't challenging beer cans and soda bottles for that dubious honor. On the other hand, it seems odd that we find any balloons on our little piece of rural landscape. How many escaped balloons fall on and equal-size plot of urban real estate? How many helium-filled balloons are released -- either accidentally or on purpose -- every year? How many are occupying U. S. air space at any given time? How far do they travel?

Then again, it could be that we just happen to have some nearby neighbors who are very much into celebrating with balloons.

(Editors Note: BirdGuides has an excellent article discussing the scope and environmental problems caused by released balloons. Many thanks to Gwendolen for providing this link.)