Finger Snuggling The Ambassador: Tufters, Tacey, and Our Adorable Little Future

“mmmm…. Iz not shur if I likez it… keeps doing it tho…. I tellz you wut I thinked about it later!”
Banding Piping Plover is quite rare. There are two main reasons for this. First, PIPL have a higher statistical incidence of of leg injury as a result of banding. Scientists are not entirely sure why. Second, there is an extremely high risk that the bander will put the PIPL in his her or pocket and take it home with them to pet it.
Banding Piping Plover is quite rare. There are two main reasons for this. First, PIPL have a higher statistical incidence of of leg injury as a result of banding. Scientists are not entirely sure why. Second, there is an extremely high risk that the bander will put the PIPL in his or her or pocket and take it home to pet it. And we can’t afford to lose anymore Piping Plover.
While I'm no scientist, I am certain I have unlocked the mystery of the slightly increased probability for injury: their legs are just too ippsy-dibble and itty-bitty adorbz.
While I’m no scientist, I am certain I have unlocked the mystery of the slightly increased probability for injury: their legs are just too ippsy-dibble and itty-bitty adorbzable.
But banding is an amazing tool to help us understand our mysterious wild neighbors who love the Beach as much as we do, and also like us, couldn't live without it.
But banding is a dead simple and ingenious tool to help us understand and completely stalk our mysterious wild neighbors who love the Beach as much as we do, and, also like us, couldn’t live without it. The stakes are high for us and for Piping Plover everywhere. So some PIPL are asked to step up and heed the call of Destiny. To become more than just a bird on the Beach. To help shape our future.
To become a Banded PIPL is about the highest honor any adorable little Piping Plover could ever dream of. The itty-bitty bands signify that this particular bird is more than just some bird. It is a distinct individual. And a very important one at that. A Banded PIPL is an Ambassador for the entire species, and for all of the Beach Nesting Birds really.
To become a Banded PIPL is about the highest honor any adorable little Piping Plover could ever dream of. The itty-bitty bands signify that this particular bird is more than just some bird. It is a distinct individual. And a very important one at that. A Banded PIPL is an Ambassador for the entire species, and for all of the Beach Nesting Bird Family.
And now, a very special Piping Plover is also and Ambassador for Long Beach Island.
And now, a very, very special Piping Plover is also an Ambassador for Long Beach Island, and for us too.
A most epic new initiative has just been launched to study the declining natural splendor of the Jersey Shore, and hopefully, to patch it up. The awesome heroes taking care of wildlife in our State have done amazing job maintaining bits of wild habitat, taking care of the animals using it, and expertly helping new generations to be born each season.
A most epic new initiative has just been launched to help understand the magical wilderness of the Jersey Shore. The awesome heroes taking care of wildlife in NJ do an almost unbelievable job maintaining our bits of wild habitat, taking care of the animals using it, and expertly helping new generations to be born each season. But not enough are returning. And we all know that’s nuts. I don’t think I know of a single child whose parents took them to a favorite spot on the Jersey Shore that did not wind up bringing their children here in turn. I bring my family to LBI, because my Daddy brought me here, just as his Daddy brought him. Piping Plover, and many of the animals around us, are no different.
This program is being headed up the absolutely and unbelievably smart, charming, and delightfully intense Michelle Stantial from SUNY ESF,  and the insanely composed and unbearably stylish Emily Heisner from the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey team.
This program is being headed up the absolutely and unbelievably smart, charming, and delightfully intense Michelle Stantial from SUNY ESF, and the insanely composed and unbearably stylish Emily Heiser from the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey team (who also happens to be the finest PIPL Finger Snuggler on the planet Earth).
When this project became official, and got the green light, I  imagine the team met for their kickoff meeting and Michelle said something like,
When this project became official and got that itty-bitty green light, I would imagine the team met for their kickoff meeting and Michelle said something very appropriate and useful  like, “O.K., so where we start?” And in unison, I’m also pretty sure, the response was surely a loud chorus: “With everyone’s favorite PIPLs! LBI’s Tufters & Tacey, of course!”
One of our local Piping Plover just became world famous. And also got a serious finger snuggle.
One of Barnegat Light State Park’s adorable Piping Plover couple has just become so much more than just ours. It has gone global; an Ambassador for Piping Plover, an Ambassador for the Wild Beach, an Ambassador for NJ, an Ambassador for LBI, an Ambassador for Barnegat Light State Park,  and an Ambassador for us. And it also got a serious Finger Snuggle.

Only the highest quality Readers will have made it to this point without asking “But WHO? Is it Tufters? Or Tacey???!111???”

Who do you think it is? Who do you secretly want it to be? Who do it think it should be?

I should note that the banding takes place at the nest. And Tufters ‘n Tacey share nest duties like any other PIPL couple, switching on and off during a constant and continual incubation that lasts several weeks. But I should also note that Tufters is fiercely dedicated to his little nest, while Tacey needs more “me” time. She can disappear for hours. That’s not a bad thing, and we see that in all sorts of human couples too. Still, it can be quite frustrating for scientists who visit Barnegat Light to have to sit around for hours waiting for Tacey to come home.

So ultimately, the PIPL you get is the one that happens be on the nest at the allotted banding time.

So who is it? !!!???!! Which of our celebrity Piping Plover is about to go viral, go world famous, and become an important part of a serious effort to ensure a very wild, and very adorable little future on the Coast for all of us? Which one, quite ridiculously, has now made their Readings From The Northside made-up name totally official, and will be referred to by it by serious science people for years, and perhaps generations to come?

Stay tuned to find out!

Update: PART 2 has been posted: Click to see The Trap Video