Tufters All Alone Because Tacey Is A… Tramp?

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“TACEYYY???? TAAAAAAAACEEEEEEEYYYYYYYY???!!!!!!”

The immediate aftermath of Tufters’ & Tacey’s historic and devastating loss was a gruesome combination of shock, terror, and confusion. They were clearly traumatized, as were we, continuing to call for their lost chicks throughout the next day. The glimmers of false hope in their desperate calls were the saddest of all. It was awful to watch.

Returning the following day after giving them some space, it was therefore a true joy to see Tufters furiously peeping and scraping all over the habitat. He was going absolutely nuts, with a happening, can-do, lets-do-this kind of vibe. Tufters was not about to quit. Unite, Rebuild. Move on. That’s how LBI rolls. That’s how Tufters rolls. The best way to get past this was to form a new nest, post haste. The clock is of course ticking wildly fast.

But Tacey on the other hand, was not responsive to his many advances and suggestions. She was distant and, understandably, cold. Perhaps she took the loss harder. Perhaps she lacked the will. Perhaps she had lost hope. Whatever the case, the more she maintained her distance, the harder Tufters would try, scraping and peeping even more furiously with each rebuff. His behavior bordered on desperate. We all have our own ways we heal from our tragedies, I thought as I watched all of this.

And then soon after came the news. It spread quickly…. first via whispers. Later more confidently. Always delivered with a tone of deep sorrow, and prefaced by “I’m so sorry….”

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Busted.

Tacey was spotted today 16 miles south at Holgate being courted by a young thug named Pepper Jack.

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PEEP PEEP! Pepper Jack Courtship Flight. Photo courtesy of the mighty talented Jesse Amesbury.

WAIT… WHAT???!!!!111!!!

It’s true. Here she is at Holgate today. Noticeably absent? Tufters.

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The Lady Is A Tramp. But in which sense of the word? Photo courtesy of the mighty talented Jesse Amesbury.

Now as I understand it, fans, scientists, and wildlife officials throughout the Piping Plover breeding range, and all the way down to their wintering ground in the Bahamas, are as traumatized today at this news as poor Tufters & Tacey were a few days ago when crows ate all of their babies.

It makes sense. Tufters & Tacey are the most world famous, and most studied, pair of Piping Plover in the world. They are the King & Queen of the most important habitat on the coast; the one which is changing the way we all think about Piping Plover: Barnegat Light. They are the itty-bitty faces of the Recovery. It is understandable why people would be panicking at the thought of Tufters & Tacey being, OMG, splitsville. Tufters is, after all, widely regarded as the Lord Of Light. It is believed by many scientists, rightly or wrongly, that as he goes, so goes the fate of the entire species.

I’m tired. I’m sad. Normally I would love nothing more than to troll you all with every manner or titillating rumor and scandalous insinuation. The opportunity to build on this season’s earlier Reading, The Real Housewives of Barnegat Light, featuring Tacey in some racey, flirtatious, yoga photos is so incredibly tempting I can barely control my fingers.

But the truth is, people and plovers are hurt, and confused. So just this once, I’ll tell it straight: There is absolutely no way Tacey is going to renest with some foolish rogue outside the park. She is simply heading home to the Bahamas early after her tragic loss. While we all had hoped they would try again, it is appearing unlikely. Perhaps she will have a change of heart and come home.

And as she works her way down the coast towards the Bahamas, she will be forced to stop in all manner of active breeding locations where the last of the desperate young males are pulling out all the stops while trying to score a lady this season. And only the most absurd of that motley crew, like Pepper Jack, would take a shot at Tacey.

Tacey is a Tramp. But only in the simpler sense of the word. She is a vagrant, living itty bitty, orange foot-to-mouth, as she works her way down the coast and back home to the Bahamas to heal, and dream of being reunited in 2018 with her one true love, Tuffies. There ain’t no more to it. And shame on anyone who thought otherwise.

Godspeed Tacey!