The first time a photo of an adorable Piping Plover chick ever graced the homepage of Readings From The Northside, longtime reader Jamie quickly commented:
There’s no way I’m gonna get myself involved in that story. I know how that one is going to end. All the Piping Plover chicks die. No thanks!
Once, New Jersey’s legendary biologist Kathy Clark, who has spent more than three decades living through and dealing with all manner of awful stories starring our coastal wildlife, offered surprisingly:
Oh no. I could never be a beach nesting bird scientist. All the horrible things they have to observe and deal with… it’s just too sad.
(Note: that’s kind of like the Fireman saying he’d never want to be a Cop because it is too dangerous)
Turns out they are both 100% correct on this. Even king size bottles of Ativan(TM) can’t equalize the dizzying highs and gut wrenching lows of getting yourself invested in the lives of a family of totally endangered Piping Plover trying to carve out their adorable and precious existence among our frivolous recreations down the shore.
I think nature made them so small on purpose, so we don’t have to see what is going on down there under our feet. There is so much ugliness: so much of our greed, our stupidity, our spoiled selfishness, and our cruelty is exposed down there. These are the last things we want to think about while vacationing.
It’s bad enough to actually watch the fate of these babies, snuffed out by our whims. What’s worse is to write blogs about them. There truly is nothing like running home freshly heart broken, having just lost a favorite, precious itty bitty, to write a blog post about it and drag everyone down with you. It is a woeful errand. Makes me feel like a sociopath.
But somehow, magically, and thankfully, this season a strange confluence of circumstances conspired to turn it all upside down, and bring us a crazy, mixed-up season.
For today, June 18th, 2016 is the Tufters & Tacey official family “Fledge Day”. This is the day all four of their adorable babies are officially Plover grown, ready to fly, and counted as itty-bitty wins. They are grown ups in flight. And you haven’t even met them yet.
You read that right. I’m only just getting the chance to tell the story of the Tace-ter’s incredible, magical season and it is already over. So, ULTIMATE SPOILER: nobody dies. All the chicks live. It is an unbelievably happy ending.
Perhaps we won’t enjoy watching them grow as much without the anxiousness of knowing they could die in any post. Perhaps we will enjoy them more. I mean, tons of folks are still watching Game Of Thrones even though everyone has figured out already the tale’s biggest surprise, that Jon Snow is a Targaryan, right?
Whatever the case, this season is full of amazing news and incredible wonders that will take us to far away lands and give us a glimpse of our wondrous future. Just because we’ve spoiled this itty-bitty ending, this story is certainly not over.
So quick, light that itty-bitty cigar, don’t bother knitting any itty-bitty baby quilts because they don’t need them anymore, and pour four tiny glasses of champagne. Somehow, Tufters, the Lord of The Lighthouse, and his Lady Tacey held it all together this year. The miracles just never cease with these two.
And so for now, we can continue to spoil ourselves. Let’s go back to that cool, rainy day in May when it all began. The very first moments when the itty-bitties went rogue this season. Go full screen and HD to watch the very first moments of the precious lives of these babies who actually grew up and, spoiler alert, didn’t die.
Editor’s Note: Please note these babies could still die at any moment. They made it fledge which is great, but Piping Plover face unbelievable abuse through their entire lives. In fact it is probably totally bad ju-ju that I wrote a post about how nobody died, even though it is incredible news and a huge accomplishment. Doh.