Just what is the poop capacity of an unladen sparrow? We ask because one got into the office and left quite a mess

The unspoken perils of remote working

Column It's now over a year since offices were shuttered and phrases like "remote" or "hybrid" working began to be bandied about. And although hands have been wrung over "Zoom Fatigue", few appear to have noted the real threat posed to harmonious home working: birds.

Away from the sealed cocoon of an airconditioned office some, including this hack, have been fortunate enough to (a) have a garden and (b) have space enough at the end of it to stick a shed in which to work (and also assemble copious amounts of Lego).

However, the idyll of Shed Life has been rudely interrupted by a bunch of antisocial beaked ruffians, a flock of evil feathered bastards.

The birds want in.

Admittedly, I only have myself to blame. A bird bath and a feeder seemed delightful additions to the garden in the before-times. However, rising temperatures led me to open a window. This in turn resulted in a bird paying an in-person visit, spraying the interior of the shed with poo before finally departing. Doubtless to bathe in the bath I'd thoughtfully provided.

To unashamedly lift a popular movie quote: how can something so small produce so much of something so disgusting?

Research into the subject has thus far failed to reveal the poop capacity of the average UK garden tweeter other than "it depends on how big the bird is" – well, duh. It does, however, seem like a winning addition to The Register's online converter for volume.

We contacted various feathered friend fanciers, including Chris Packham and Bill Oddie, but have yet to pin down the facts regarding either poop capacity or a sure-fire way of discouraging the use of our shed as a bird lavatory.

Others in the community were less sympathetic to our plight. An anonymous pro-bird source said: "Birds are a brilliant source of entertainment, they're intelligent and fascinating to watch. And – let's be honest – you have opposable thumbs and many years of evolutionary advantages, so if you can't shut your own shed door then it's on you."

We look forward to the time when those tiresome remote and hybrid working surveys include the not-so-silent threat of a workspace festooned with guano as another factor in worker stress and fatigue. In the meantime, the question of poop capacity remains – got some measurements you can share (or sure fire repellent techniques)? The comments section awaits. ®

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