MNN Galleries

6 animals that recycle in their everyday lives

March 6, 2013, 3:07 p.m.
sea gull on full trash can

Photo: Sister72/Flickr

2 of 8

Birds

Perhaps nature's greatest recyclers are birds. Many urban species have adapted to life in human environments by building their nests with whatever is available, which often includes anything from discarded string and newspapers to paper clips and plastic.

Bowerbirds from New Guinea and Australia, which construct elaborate and garish "bowers" in order to attract mates, will often collect colorful trash (such as bottle caps and plastics) and repurpose it for bower decoration. (In other words, recycling is considered sexy for these birds!)

Of course, birds like pigeons and gulls also take advantage of all the food waste that is left behind by people, gobbling up what they can.