Nodding Off

Rest In Peace
Rest In Peace

It is with a heavy heart that I bring you the news that we’ve lost Nod. Tufters & Tacey have done an amazing job raising their Miracle Brood amidst the chaos of our vacations on LBI, and the babies were all well on their way towards becoming big birds. But life is never easy for the Piping Plover as their only home is our Summertime playground. In the chaotic life they lead in the sand under our bare feet, disaster is always just a moment away for any of them, no matter what their age, as it is I suppose for all of us.

I’ll be honest and tell you that Nod was perhaps my favorite of any of Tufters’ & Tacey’s youngins from any season. From the moment he adorably fell asleep in Emily’s hand while being banded, to his stylish light-blue-over-orange rig bands that Michelle Stantial very thoughtfully chose for him, I knew he was a special little boy.

The Piping Plover are without a doubt the friendliest and most curious of all the shorebirds and Nod possessed these special qualities to an extreme. He just oozed charisma in that way that very special individuals do. There are no pictures or stories I could share that could demonstrate this to you to the degree I observed it. But it is true. He was one of LBI’s most colorful local characters and the loss of Nod is certainly not as itty-bitty as he was.

As the last tiny sliver of Island where the itty bit ties live becomes more overrun with feral cats and raccoons who survive only by eating our garbage and handouts, our local animals suffer dearly.
As the last tiny sliver of Island where the itty bitties live becomes more overrun with feral cats and raccoons who survive only by eating our garbage and handouts, our local animals suffer dearly. The situation reminds me of a scenario where all of LBI’s tourists get support from the Government to murder all the locals and take over the Island permanently to live listless lives on endless vacation, sustained by handouts. When all of LBI’s locals are gone, will the Island still be as magical?

But we have reason to hope for his siblings Wynken & Blynken survive. If they can make it to migration, then Tufters & Tacey will have successfully produced 3 young this year, well above the official 1.7 chicks they needed to produce to keep the species alive in New Jersey. While it did take them two nests to achieve that, which is very much like family incomes remaining stable over the past several decades even though both parents now have to work, and work longer hours at more jobs, it is still a victory. It will help ensure we still have at least this one family of Piping Plover to live among us on LBI and keep the bright light of the Island’s natural spender shining.

Goodnight Nod. Rest In Peace.

Our Little Nod: The Last Known Photo
Our Little Nod: The Last Known Photo