Six Packs and Google

As poker started today, I plucked a can of Strongbow cider from the plastic rings that bound it to its kin. I also removed the last can and was about to throw away the rings before I stopped in my tracks. Something programmed into me since I was a kid held me back.
“If you throw these plastic rings away like this,” my subconscious told me, “six fledgling birds will die.”
Overwhelmed by the weight of six bird souls on my shoulders, I took out some scissors, clipped the rings, and threw them away. Crisis averted.
However, after going through the motions, I started to think about these hypothetical birds. How are they getting to the rings? Do six-pack rings still endanger birds?
I mean, think about it. I put my trash in a bag and put it in the dumpster outside. I guess birds could penetrate the bag, but it’s highly unlikely. Then the bags are put in a truck. Birds want nothing to do with trucks. Then the bags are compressed into blocks of trash and thrown in giant landfills. Birds might hang out there–seagulls will hang out anywhere–but the stench must be unbearable.
Anyway, I guess it’s possible that birds still have access to six-pack rings, so I’ll continue to clip them (the rings, not the birds) whenever I encounter them. But a small part of me wonders if this is something we do just because we’ve always done it, like pre-rinsing dishes or checking under the toilet for spiders before sitting down. Eh. Might as well, just in case. You never know.
Endnote: I officially switched over to Google Chrome as my primary web browser at work today. Great choice. It runs so much faster than IE, and it’s so much more user friendly. It’s like Google actually made it with users in mind.