Tattoo’d Island

Goose Steppin’ PIPL. Arguably the most adorable thing you can see while sitting in your beach chair.

There is nothing to see on the Wild Beach more hysterically adorable than a Goose Steppin’ PIPL ~ P.R. Snoody

I think we can all agree. For those who can’t agree because they don’t know what a “Goose Steppin’ PIPL” is, Goose Stepping is basically the “third base” of Piping Plover mating, where the male creeps up behind the female, standing tall, and high kicking like a crazed Prussian Soldier. If she let’s him kick her in the rear, he basically has legal consent to proceed and attempt to make itty-bitties with her. Other birds probably do this too, but everyone knows those birds don’t really matter as much.

This spring I had the unbelievably good fortune to have an opportunity to stroll the wild beach with the incomparable Allison Anholt. You might remember her from such posts as Walking On Eggshells and Hide The Button. There’s never a dull moment when Allison is around. That’s not only because she is a True Gem of a Woman, but also because she is wicked smart, and as thirsty for knowledge as one can be. You always learn something hanging around Allison and it’s truly awesome.

She never disappoints. This time out, we learned about Tattoos.

Beach Tattoo

First off, we learn from Allison that the familiar “Goose Stepping” is also known as “Tattooing”, coming from the military terminology referencing rhythmic drumming and also the military pageantry associated with it. It’s what cool kids are calling it!


noun (pl-toos

1. (formerly) a signal by drum or bugle ordering the military to return totheir quarters
2. a military display or pageant, usually at night 
3. any similar beating on a drum, etc


If that weren’t enough a knowledge bomb, we also learn that Goose Stepping, or Tattooing, leaves special little tracks all over the beach. This is especially exciting because it is so rare to actually see a PIPL in the act. PIPL like their privacy, just like you & me.

But once you’ve spotted some Tattoo trax, they are hard to miss. Here is a look around a new Piping Plover Love Shack:


As you can see, the evidence of Goose Steppin’ is hard to miss once you know what you’re looking at.

Tattooing/Goose Stepping Trax next to some regular Piping Plover Trax. Come to think of it, those are probably the female’s trax as she walks away from her crazy, high steppin’ mate!

So there you have it. While we may not be seeing much Goose Steppin’, we can know it’s happening out there when we see the adorable, little Tattoo Tattoos all over the beach.

If you’d like to see some Goose Steppin’ PIPL in action and learn more about how the PIPL make the magic happen, have a watch of this video, from the 2014 post Datin’ & Matin’ With Tufters.

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


And a special shout out to all the great, life-long-learners out there like Allison Anholt who take the time to share their knowledge with regular boobs like me. This strange world we are stuck in is endlessly fascinating, but sometimes we only notice when great teachers patiently show us what we’re missing.

Goose Stepping Trax! Holy Smokes! I love the Spring!