Friday, July 12, 2013

Sandpipers School Beach Walkers in Agility


A solitary sandpiper is a fascinating bird to watch on a lazy day at the beach. There is major drama by the minute: Will this big wave be the one that finally catches the 'piper off guard and swallows it up? Nope, it never happens. Those long but agile legs keep the sandpiper just out of danger and in business feeding on what wiggles at ocean's edge. 

When Superdawg and I are able to take extended hikes along the beach, we invariably do a lot of sandpiper-watching. It is usually about a tie as to which old dawg tires first. Let's just say we are both pleasantly fatigued by the time we depart, but tired or not, we are almost always leave inspired by the sandpipers.

As to the Spotted Sandpiper, I discovered in a handy guide entitled "South Carolina Birds" that the female lays her eggs (as many as 20 in four clutches through the summer) and then may begin her migration, leaving the egg incubation and chick rearing to the male. Only about 1 percent of all birds follow this breeding routine, which is called "polyandry." 

All I can say is that it is fortunate we in the human kingdom do not follow this practice of reliance on we guys, or homo sapiens could well have become extinct by now!

     © Robert G. Holland  2013

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