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A bird’s-eye view removed – for better or worse

Having the old snag gone opens up this great view of downtown and Perins Peak, on top of taking away a corvid drone perch. The piñon snag’s remains can be seen on the downslope at the bottom left of the photo. (Courtesy of Vetus Pinus Edulis)

Dear Action Line: Until recently, there was a beautiful old piñon snag, that ravens and crows would sometimes roost on, at the top of the Nature Trail (top of north spur where it gains the top of the trail). It has recently been cut down. Why? To stop the spread of CORVIDs? – Vetus Pinus Edulis

Dear Vetus: So much to talk about here, but first a shoutout to Vetus for the CORVID joke. Good one. Corvidae is a cosmopolitan family of oscine passerine birds that contains the crows, ravens, jays and magpies. Action Line knew that and did not look that up on Wikipedia, which oddly has a very similar definition.

For those of you unversed in Latin and tree classifying, Vetus means “old,” and “pinus edulis” is the type of piñon found around here.

OK then. Are you sitting down?

The problem with this question is that it assumes birds are real. Fortunately, Action Line is aware that the birds seen flying around the U.S. are merely government-controlled drones. In the name of federal security, birds have been systematically eliminated over the last 60 or so years and replaced with bird-resembling drones. (Don’t believe Action Line? See birdsarentreal.com.) Having old snags around gives these surveillance mechanisms a better perch with which to spy on Durangoans’ doings. Is that really what you want? In this case, the snag was obviously in a perfect spot to keep an eye on things downtown. Fortunately, the folks at Fort Lewis College are apparently aware of the wholesale eradication of real birds and the replacement drones.

Action Line is here to tell the truth, at whatever cost. No, it’s not always pretty.

Because of this proclivity to spout facts, Action Line has very few friends, and neighbors skedaddle rapidly in the opposite direction whenever Action Line approaches. But that’s Action Line’s burden to bear. It’s all about service in the name of community and one’s fellow man, or woman, or whatever you profess to be. It’s a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world. (Except for Lola.) You are SO fortunate to have Action Line around to keep things straight for you.

The area in question is on the grounds of FLC, whose physical plant is in charge of maintaining trees. As part of this responsibility, it hires contractors to do periodic limbing, said Jeff Miller, physical plant director. The contractor does work on trees that have died, or might fall and cause injury to people or property, or are part of fire mitigation efforts.

Miller said that FLC’s contractor was in the general area of the trail top in early December, and could indeed have taken that particular tree down.

The fake birds programmed to look for worms and stray orange peels and such will just have to go somewhere else.

Dear Action Line: I have spent considerable time trying to find out how to recycle glass light bulbs. I’m referring to standard incandescent bulbs, NOT compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). The recycling center won’t take the standard bulbs because of the metal base. I want to be a responsible citizen, but don’t seem to be able to find a solution. You’re my last best hope before tossing them into the regular trash. – Hal Halogen

Dear Hal: Usually, Action Line draws out these answers, but let’s cut to the chase:

Throw them away!

“These ‘standard’ non-fluorescent light bulbs are best off going in the trash,” said Imogen Ainsworth, former sustainability coordinator with the city of Durango. She has moved on recently from that job, but while doing some transition work kindly took the time to answer this important question.

“These bulbs are non-hazardous but are generally not recyclable due to the complexity and energy involved in separating out the component materials,” she said. “These bulbs are not accepted at the recycle center, and I'm not aware of another location in Durango that would take them.”

To make sure everyone’s reasonably clear, we’re talking about the old-style, incandescent bulbs that people have been using for, like, a century. Basically since Thomas Edison invented them. More recently, the compact fluorescent and light-emitting diode bulbs have become popular, energy-saving options, with the LEDs basically taking over the market. CFLs and LEDs are more expensive than the incandescents, but if you do the math, it turns out they should save you a lot of money in the long run.

If you want to get technical, the problem with the incandescents is that most of the energy produced is heat, not light. That is why you shouldn’t touch them when they’re on, but if you haven’t learned that already, it’s probably too late. They’re pretty much obsolete.

LED lights are even more efficient than CFLs. The U.S. Department of Energy tells us that adapting to LEDs will save billions of dollars and prevent the need for more power plants.

CFL bulbs can be recycled at Kroegers Ace Hardware and Home Depot. Both LEDs and fluorescent tubes can be recycled at the city’s recycling center, but only on Saturdays, and there is a slight cost.

Ainsworth pointed out that residents can find out how to recycle most items by using the city’s DurangoRecycles.com Waste Wizard.

Email questions and suggestions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Actionae Linus, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. The common raven, it might be good for you to know, is a stealth attack drone.

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