Thursday, April 28, 2016

Sanford Shorebirds - Kill-deer!!! Kill-deer!!!

When we're lucky enough to slip down to the coast for a few days, 
we love a leisurely stroll on the beach with the shorebirds. 

With cool names like sandpiper, sanderling, willet and oystercatcher, 
and equally intriguing bills and plumage and calls, 

shorebirds offer even the most casual observer a bounty of fascinating 
physical characteristics and behaviors to ponder and appreciate.

Among our favorite shorebirds are the plovers 
(may rhyme with lovers or clovers, depending upon your mood);
and our favorite plover is the ubiquitous killdeer, 
Charadrius vociferous. 

The killdeer is a prototypical shorebird by almost any measure, 
but we love the fact that it is quite common right here in Sanford, 
a hundred miles or more from the nearest seashore!

Like the whip-poor-will and chuck-wills-widow, the killdeer name is onomatopoeic, 
as anyone who's ever heard the shrill and repeating "Kill-deeeer" or "Kill-deeee" on a late spring afternoon can attest.

We were not surprised when we heard the familiar piercing call during a recent stroll through 
Historic Downtown Sanford, and we quickly spotted the caller wheeling swiftly overhead. 
Seconds later, its mate began to vocalize from the gravel railroad bed, 
just a few short yards from where we stood.

And then the show began in earnest...
The ingenious bird feigned injury, dropping one wing to the ground 
and dragging it helplessly as it hobbled and fluttered slowly down the tracks. 

It was immediately clear that the bird was luring us away from its precious nest, 
and we froze lest we inadvertently trample it. 
Here is the terrain that confronted us...

and here from a different angle.

After several anxious moments, 
distress calls echoing from the nearby walls,

our straining eyes resolved the puzzle, and cleared the way for our escape.

Yes, Sanford has some shorebirds.

Beautiful, passionate, clamorous birds.

Clever, resourceful, amorous birds.

And if tonight's adventure is any indication, 
they'll be around for a good long time,

here on Sanford's rocky shores...

Kill-Deeeer!  Kill-Deeeeer!

Thanks to Julie for sharing her fabulous photos!

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