The Bird Poo Compass

Bird droppings on ivy


My camera ventured out with me for a short run this morning, I was feeling confident that I might spot some attractive frost patterns in the trees and hills. The thing that stopped me abrubtly however was less… how shall I put it? Less classically beautiful perhaps… less aesthetically pleasing certainly. I had been taking a shortcut through a patch of woodland, when I noticed something incongruous. The ivy floor of the wood looked unusual. On one side of a young beech tree there were ivy leaves thickly flecked with white bird droppings. Great big dollops of them.

On my courses I encourage people to avoid relying too heavily on memorised ‘tricks’ and instead to try to remember principles. This was a good example. There was no ‘bird poo trick’ that I was aware of, but there is a solid principle. Trees like sunlight and their branches like to grow towards it. Sure enough, when I looked up there was a definite preponderance of branches above the droppings. The birds had little option of where to perch, and hence where to do their business. QED, the bird poo was on the south side of the tree.