Datin’ & Matin’, With Tufters: The Courtship Ritual of the Piping Plover

As many readers know, during my last trip to the beach I was on a mission: to catch the sweet & totally adorbz mating ritual of the Piping Plover. While I had hoped the PIPL would reveal their most intimate moments to the camera as quickly and effortlessly as we reveal our greatest hopes, fears, and fantasies to the mighty Google, it was not that simple. I had to live out on the beaches of Long Beach Island for two straight weeks with Tufters, the world’s smoothest Piping Plover, to get the whole sequence. Tufters is indeed a very real bird and all the footage here is of our hero Tufters involved in the very real struggle to perpetuate his itty bitty species.

Like any good ritual or video game,  the Piping Plovers’s courtship unfolds in a series of stages, at least as I observed them:

  • Step 1: Courtship Whistle & Calling
  • Step 2: Scraping Nests
  • Step 3: Courtship Flights
  • Step 4: Goose Stepping (adorbz)
  • Step 5: Copulation (attempted)

You’ll see them all here in full HD. What you won’t see is what I really took away  from this experience: as the Courtship progressed through the stages, the emotional life of these itty bitty PIPL became palpable and undeniable. Don’t worry about the details. Just suffice it to say that, as a member of the dominant master species on this planet, I’m convinced now that I do in fact have some responsibility to care for less advantaged species. Let’s do what we can to give the individuals of endangered species a hand. Share the beach, and if nothing else, support the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ. Heroes like Todd, Allison, and Karen from the CWFNJ were an almost daily sight out there in the wild nesting area, watching over these precious itty bitties, doing what they can to protect them from the evil forces that snuff out their precious little lives, which include to a great measure, as I have sadly observed, human ignorance, indifference, & cruelty.

Don’t be shy to go full HD and full screen with this rare treat of some hardcore PIPL lovin’. HD button should be in the top right corner of the video player. Enjoy.

Oh yeah, and scene where Tufters marches around the Piping Plover stuffed animal is real. Tufters discovered the stuffy one day and, after he established it was not a male trying to take his turf, promptly fell in love with it. It was the saddest little thing in the world when I had to take it away from him.

Image of a Piping lover stuffed animal
Tufters falls for a Piping Plover Stuffy