On 4 June 2024, there was an article in the Dutch newspaper ‘Het Parool’ about a stork couple (wilma and Ruud) in Amsterdam. Already for the third year in a row, all of this couple’s chicks died. How could this happen? A window cleaner looking at the dead chick saw that it was completely full of rubber bands. They just fell out.

dode ooievaar


Exactly a year before (4 June 2023), there was an article in another Dutch newspaper ‘the NRC’ with a picture of a mountain of rubber bands. A picture of the stomach contents of a young dead stork. This stork had been found in Houten and was taken to a vet. Unfortunately, the poor bird was beyond saving: its stomach was stuffed with rubber bands. 490 grams of junk in the stomach of this beautiful beast. The stork and stomach contents are now on display at the Natural History Museum Rotterdam



ooievaar nrc
ooievaar nrc

A rubber band looks like a worm. Also for a bird. So young birds are regularly fed rubber bands. Rubber bands enough to be found on our streets or pavements. And an excess of rubber bands becomes death for a young bird because a rubber band does not digest. Storks in particular suffer: death by rubber bands. Worms are important food in spring for storks and their young. And storks live cosily among us humans. Among our junk.

The Dutch call it a ‘postage rubber band’. Postmen use them to bundle a stack of envelopes. But they are also used in the home, office or forest and garden construction. Handy. But also stupid. Stupid that they are everywhere. If you start paying attention, you suddenly see them everywhere. So if you see a rubber band lying on the pavement on the street: pick it up. Let’s help Mrs and Mr Stork a bit.

pick me up<br />
pick me up1

I think our living environment deserves some love and attention. That’s why I picked it up again: the litter and my #messy parade project. You can read more about it in this blog post or following my Instagram account.