Humanz Helping Make Houses Homes

The Right Stuff
The Right Stuff

Readers with even moderate short term memories might remember a few weeks back when Jack, of the awfully dysfunctional Osprey couple Jack and Wendy, failed epically when attempting to spruce up their nest with a rotten duck carcass. They also might remember LBI’s celebrity PIPL Tufter’s difficulty finding an oceanfront cottage extravagant enough to satisfy the tastes of his lovely mate Tacey.

Well, as all great couples learn to do, Tufters and Tacey were eventually able to reach a compromise and finally found the perfect LBI Summer Home. And so happy were they with the new crib that they almost immediately filled it with Love.

Love. That's 1, 2, 3, 4 bits of Love right there. That's one beautiful nest.
Love. That’s 1, 2, 3, 4 bits of Love right there. That’s one beautiful nest.

Once again Tufters and Tacey have decorated their place to the nines. Sticking once more with their preference for Coastal Decor, they’ve chosen tasteful, delicate bits of shell to line a scrape filled with four gorgeous eggs as their focal point.

Most Readers already know that Tufter’s is one of the world’s best dads. What they may not know is that he is also a phenomenal husband. This season, he really wanted to do something special for Tacey to celebrate their successful compromise and their four, adorable, new eggs. But he is certainly not as young & foolish as Jack The Osprey. He would never bring a dead anything home thinking he’d impress her.

Instead, Tufters knew from his experience nesting at Barnegat Light State Park that Todd Pover, the Beach Nesting Bird Director for the State of NJ, would not fail him, and would show up soon to turn their modest scrape into a true Jewel Of The Sea. No effort required.

“Wait… what? Iz dat…. Iz dat…. Toddz Pover???111???”

Tufters is one smart & experienced little PIPL. Sure enough, within just a few days of Tufters and Tacey making their nest, Todd and crew were on the scene to build a Piping Plover Nest Exclosure for them, just as Tufters had counted on.

Strategizing before the big build.
Strategizing by the Jetty before the big remodel.
“Todd Pover? Ruh-roh. I better putz this back.”

An exclosure is a simple contraption; basically a protective fence around the nest. You’ll sound really smart in front of your friends when you note that it is an EX-closure, designed to keep predators out, and not an EN-closure, which would have been designed to keep Piping Plover in.

The fencing is wide enough to let the PIPL pass freely through it, as well as let in cooling Island cross-breezes each Summer. It is installed in a deep trench dug around the nest, because fox, raccoons, and other predators are smart enough, and annoying enough, to dig under fences. And they top the thing off with a mesh roof to keep out crows and other threats from the sky, while also providing the happy couple spectacular views of the Summer stars at night.

“FINALLEEESSSEEE!!! Stop talking!!!! Hurry up Mr. Toddz!!11!! Tacey will be home soonz!!!!!!11!!!” I want to surprizes her!!!111!!!
While the exclosure provides invaluable protection to the nest during the season, the process of installing it is certainly disruptive. The crew practices and drills extensively so they can do the entire operation in just few minutes.
While the exclosure provides invaluable protection to the nest during the season, the process of installing it is certainly disruptive. The crew practices and drills extensively so they can do the entire operation in just few minutes.
This frenzy of activity can be traumatic, and many Piping Plover will flee the scene completely and return, extremely cautiously, much later.
This frenzy of activity can be temporarily traumatic, and many Piping Plover will flee the scene completely in panic and return, extremely paranoid, much later when everyone is gone.
But not 'lil Tufters. He stayed right there the whole time, acting like an annoying  little foreman.
But not ‘lil Tufters. He stayed right there the whole time, acting like a bossy, little foreman on the construction site.
“Pover, make sure those knotz iz tight. And face the nice half towards T2’s nezt. Tacey likez to showz off. And hurry!!!! Oh, and I cantz pay you. I only has eggz and wermz. And I need those. Sry.”
Roof detail: People often ask
Roof detail: People often ask “What about Crows?” Zip-tied mesh over the top does the trick. PIPL generally walk, not fly, to and from their nests.

And, in a flash, it was done. Tufters & Tacey’s house was now a home. And Tacey was absolutely thrilled when she finally came home, and the rest of us can be thrilled knowing that those four eggs now have an eggs-ellent chance of magically turning into adorable little, itty-bitty PIPL this Summer.

New Team Member Lindsey Brendel happily carries everything, riding the high that comes from being a hero and hanging out with Tufters.
New Team Member Lindsey Brendel happily carries everything, riding the high that comes from being a hero and hanging out with Tufters.

Todd Pover, Pam Pritchard, Laura Hardy, and Lindsey Brendel are not even from LBI and for some it was their first visit here. But they know how worthwhile our wildlife is and they also know how important our Island is to some important groups of animals, and therefore to people all over the world.

We all know how much our Island means to us. It is mind blowing to think that our Island is also important to the rest of the world, at least in terms of its importance as a habitat for animals that couldn’t live without it. Just another point that proves we’re not crazy for believing LBI is the greatest place on Earth.

So thanks Todd, Pam, Laura, and Lindsey, for making Tufters and Tacey’s house a home, and for broadening our view of just how special our home here on the Island really is.

Next time you are about to buy something really stupid, don’t. Instead, give a little something to the Beach Nesting Bird Program at the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ and help keep LBI a little Wild!

Todd Pover: It's no secret that Barnegat Light is his favorite habitat, and Tufter's his favorite bird.
Todd Pover: Look at that smile. It’s no secret that Barnegat Light is his favorite habitat, and Tufters his favorite bird.