I seem to have encountered several examples of humanity offering a helping hand to our animal friends in getting from one place to another in the course of the last few rotations of the earth.
The inestimable David Attenborough – in the excellent Life Stories – described a chap who feeds hummingbirds as they migrated past his property (somewhere in the US I think). This chap provides sugar-water for the “hummers” – initially in fairly sensible volumes but is now buying several tonnes (or, being the US, tons) of sugar per year to feed his feathered friends. This does rather knock my few kilos of peanuts, sunflower and niger seeds each year into a cocked hat. It also makes one wonder just how many of the rather diminutive members of family Trochilidae (come on, you’ve missed the references) you could feed with such a huge volume of sweet water (especially as the birds are migrating rather than resident) even given that they consume more than their entire body weight in nectar every day. Despite my tendency to only allow the need to breathe and sleep to interrupt my eating, I don’t get close to that level of food consumption – I’m not sure even I could pack away 13 stone of scran every 24 hours (and I would definitely need a bigger fridge – or perhaps some form of just-in-time arrangement with Ocado!).
A similar sort of plan is to be implemented in that most exotic of English counties – Yorkshire – where wild flowers are to be planted in corridors to provide snacking opportunities for bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects. Apparently, so large are the gaps between flowers that the poor bees cannot move from one area to another due to the lack of grub en route. I know how they feel, but luckily we humans have developed the rucksack, a technology which has thus far eluded apian science but which enables me to carry sufficient victuals to safely move about the country with minimal fear of being overtaken by starvation. These floral byways seem to be referred to colloquially as “bee roads”: I presume a route comprised of drying grasses laid down to allow cattle (or horses) to avoid the pangs of hunger striking while journeying would be an ‘ay road.
As established before, whilst I as the Fish am a regular user of the bicycle, our piscine (as opposed to Piscean – though I would also fall into this category) friends are well-known for eschewing the velocipede. This would now seems to be an error on their part: the warming world means that lake-dwelling fish with a penchant for cold water need to move to more elevated pools. Lacking a mountain bike, they are unable to boost their gravitational potential energy unaided. Luckily, for at least one Cumbrian species, help as “at fin” thanks to the good offices of the Environment Agency.
The vendace (not a top salesman, but a copepod guzzling fish) – which has been with us since the ice age – is not a big fan of warmer weather and is proud holder of the title of Britain’s Rarest Fish (nothing to do with sushi, but down to its scarcity). So, a bunch of lucky vendace youths have been moved from Derwentwater uphill to the cooler Sprinkler Tarn – not with the help of Pickfords (other removal firms are available) but on the back of llamas (yes, I did say llamas). Apparently the route to their new watery home is too steep for a 4×4 or 16 (even without Harry Christophers), and so llamas (scientific name, the splendidly rhyming lama glama) were the obvious(?) next choice. Twenty-five thousand fish have been transported this way (some 2.5 Dukes of York, to use the SI unit for things marched up a hill), and I rather like to imagine the fish being placed in individual polythene bags, like prizes in fairgrounds of old, for the journey.
By the way, I think the sheer quantity of vendace (vendaces?) being re-settled makes me Britain’s Rarest Fish as there are at least 24,999 fewer of me (last time I checked, and given the relative failure of my cloning experiments) and I shall be looking to claim my rightful title in the very near future.