The Diva of the Bird World
. . . or, Avian Deep Fake
I’m pretty sure that when God created the world He had a good time with it. Playing with His ideas for this place we call home must’ve brought a smile to His face more than once, don’t you think?
Take birds, for instance . . .
Some scientists estimate there are more than 10,000 species of birds on the earth. Some have said the number is closer to twice that. Even with non-flyers like penguins–whose wings are adapted to swimming–that’s a lot of air traffic!
Most, if not all, of the animal kingdom have developed well-honed survival skills over the eons.
Enter the killdeer, the Diva of the Bird world.
Cute little thing, don’t you think?
Don’t be fooled . . . these plovers have a hidden talent!
If you know anything about these Deep Fakers, you can imagine the Creator took His time with it. We have lots of these tiny birds scurrying around our five acres here in the Pacific Northwest, and I love watching them.
They lay their eggs right on the ground, camouflaged by dirt, weeds, and rocks. As soon as we notice them running around in the spring, we begin looking for their nests. They’re so well-hidden that we can walk within a foot of the nest several times before we see it.
This year two of the little critters, Mom and Pop, hid their eggs right outside a window. About twenty-eight days later, they hatched. We had front-row seats as the drama played out.
Then, about a day and a half later, Mom and Pop herded them into the field and we never saw them again.
You might be wondering why I call them Deep Fakers. Here it is: When Mom or Pop detect a perceived threat, they turn into Oscar-winning performers.
What do I mean?
If the parents think, for instance, that my husband and I are a threat as we take our daily walk through the orchards around us, they will enter stage right and go into a routine designed to lead us away from their nest, running in front of us, enticing us to follow.
Attentive killdeer parents will do everything in their power to make us follow them, including pretending to be injured. They squeak and squawk, their calls becoming more and more frantic if we ignore them or make a move toward the nest.
If we continue to ignore, they will go into the broken-wing display.
The little actor spreads its wings, flips one up and down, limping and fluttering, and tries to convince us it’s hurt. If you haven’t read the killdeer script, the performance is truly worthy of an Avian Oscar. I’ll probably never get tired of their antics. It’s certainly better than TV…
If there’s one lesson I’ve learned from decades of living, it’s this:
Don’t miss life playing out at your feet.
I’ll leave you with another quote from my forthcoming novel, No Tomorrows: