While out on a family walk around the neighbourhood I spotted another lifer for me – the Beige Rustler. These large carts are late winter migrants on Vancouver Island and this single male in fresh breeding colours is a sign that this year’s migration has begun.
Beige Rustlers show up fairly regularly in the Comox Valley and other major urban areas in British Columbia. They are a cart that prefers back alleys of medium to large towns and cities. Its common name refers to both its drab beige colour and its tendency to slowly move through old dead leaves and other forest litter looking for discarded objects hidden beneath. As they roll along, their passage through the fallen leaves makes a distinct rustling sound.
At this time of year, the large males are focused on feeding and setting up breeding territories. By circling quickly in a patch of last fall’s leaves the male beige rustler creates a dramatic aural and visual display that is attractive to female Rustlers. The blue/grey frame contrasts with the dull beige of the basket and the red chain whips out behind as it picks up speed – this chain eventually serves to link the male and female together, ensuring a strong pair bond.
I considered myself to be very lucky to have seen this usually shy cart up close. Often heard but seldom seen, the Beige Rustler is a cart to look for at this time of year as it returns to Vancouver Island.
This is the tenth species account of the Vancouver Island Shopping Carts series. Julian Montague at The Stray Shopping Cart Project has developed a method of classifying stray carts that might be of interest to those wanting to learn more about species of carts in their own area. Researchers should also consult Rock, Paper, Lizard and for detailed species accounts of Lower Mainland/Vancouver carts.