Sometimes it is only a few hours after hatch when a family of PIPL will leave the nest bowl where they had been caring for the eggs for weeks. Never to return. Since PIPL are precocial and the babies need to feed themselves from the moment they are born, the clock is ticking and the endless search for om nom has begun as soon as they bust out of those eggs.
Even though PIPL lay their eggs a few days apart, experienced parents know how to time their incubation of the eggs to get them all to hatch on the same day. If too much time goes by between the first egg hatching and the last, the family has a serious problem on their hands. Very much like we just saw with poor little T5 the Oystercatcher.
Fortunately for Steph & Larry, they nailed it, and all four eggs have hatched on the same day. The one tiny glitch is that about eight hours passed between the first egg hatching and the last.
Watching the family leave their nest bowl for the first time is always a thrill; happy, sad, hilarious, terrifying. Baby PIPL can’t regulate their own itty-bitty body temperatures at all for the first ten days, so they need to warm or shade themselves frequently under their parents’ wings. This gives the parents a small amount of control over rogue babies. They are self interested to come back.
The best thing a mama or a papa can do is keep the family together, and food is the priority. So the parents often appear to encourage getting the family, or brood, to leave the nest bowl as soon as possible. This is especially tricky when you have three rogue babies, and one tiny, late-hatching turd who can barely walk.
Smalls & Mercedes had to do it with Yeah Yeah, and Mustache BYLL and Myrtle had to do it with Cyclops… just continually leaving the nest and trying to encourage the last chick to come out and discover that it was born to live on the beach. Failing repeatedly, the parent will keep returning to the nest until that magical moment when the youngest gives it everything it has and stumbles blindly into the future.
Enjoy this very special video of the “Turd Tumble.” Steph, Larry, and three of their babies have been hanging around the exclosure all day waiting for the fourth to hatch. As the sun begins to set, the littlest doodle finally, and just barely, finds the mojo to leave the nest and launch the family into the adventure that is life on the beach.
Enjoy this very special moment of life on our beaches. This is about as precious as it gets.