The Paternity Test

The Right Stuff? Michelle Stantial (MIST), Nicole Kirkos (NIKI), Tyler Tomassone (TYTO), Dennis Grant (DEGR), and Rebecca Linhart (RELI). Check out Nicole in this rare photo. She has just injured her back chasing annoying Oystercatchers through the dune. This is that brief moment when you are still in shock and so you tell yourself “It’s not that bad.”

It was a joyous occasion when Allison Anholt magically transformed the Miracle T4 into the future legend A64. Yet there was a dark cloud hanging over the event. They had failed to find A64’s older brother, T3. Nicole and Tyler had searched the whole park during the banding of A64, but still there was no sign of T3. The team had already lost hope and packed up their gear and were heading for the parking lot when someone turned back one more time and saw T2; with two little doodles. On was banded, and one was not. The mission was back on.

After chasing down T3, Nicole was supposed to assist Allison with the banding. She is certainly the right person for the job. Not only is Nicole wickedly skilled, but she spent more hours checking up on the T# family than anyone. She was the one who correctly called that the nest would hatch. Yet with an injured back, she turned and asked RELI if she could help instead.
“aaaaaaa…. ooooooOK.”

Rebecca Linhart is the finest handler of bird you can find. Her hands are magic, her kindness tangible, her smile contagious. PIPL literally melt when she holds them.

RELI, The Plover Whisper. Here she tells her secrets to Yeah Yeah, and Yeah Yeah just eats them up.
Sweet Surrender. RELI turns a Plover to butter in the 2016 Reading, Face 2 Face.
So what exactly is going on here? No love for the AMOY, RELI?

That doesn’t add up either. RELI has an enormous heart, especially for the fragile things that could use the help of her skilled hands.

RELI inspects T3’s wing as if it were covered in lice vomit.

I think I have an idea. It has do with a rumor. A dark, dark, rumor. A rumor so foul, I’ve refrained from even mentioning it this season. Yet I fear bringing it to light is the only way to explain these photos.

We won’t say who first proposed this dark theory. RELI is not the type of person who would want to be publicly credited with something so strange. And I am exactly the type of person who would love to be credited with coming up with something so off-putting. So let’s just say no one can remember, and leave you to your own assumptions.

It’s really quite simple. RELI’s theory, oops, I mean the theory proposes that Smalls is the father of T3 & A64.

As RELI assists with the banding, she is also searching for evidence. And a little frightened at what kind of strange half-breed she might be handling.

Now on the surface, the idea the Smalls mated with Linda Hamilton and is the actual father of T3 & A64 is absurd. Still, it would explain a lot. Things have been pretty mixed up at Barnegat Light State Park ever since Smalls arrived. It would certainly explain why he spent so much time disciplining the two youngsters who wern’t even his (we assumed), as soon as they were born. It would also explain why he was so insistent that the little ones call him “Mr. Smalls.” Perhaps as a proxy for his paternal authority.

And what was the first thing Smalls did after his eggs hatched and he regained his freedom? He marched straight to the T# family. At the time we assumed he was initiating a hostile takeover of T2’s territory. Yet now we know he was doing something very different; he was uniting the families. Or perhaps reuniting with his interspecies step children.

And perhaps most importantly, many believe that T2 is, in fact infertile. Or maybe Linda is. The last set of eggs that survived past the hatch date failed to hatch. We know T2 is at least 12 years old. This suggests T2 may be past his prime and incapable of producing even miracle babies.

“Well…. they look like normal AMOY legs….”
As the banding proceeded and the baby formerly known as “T3” became “A65”, RELI began to relax and finally put the dark theory to bed. Especially when they weighed A65 and he just lay there like a turd. It’s so cute, I can’t stand it.
RELI inspects the beautiful, unique orange tips of a juvenile Oystercatcher’s feathers, and begins to relax.
Soon RELI is having fun, and sharing that smile, convinced that it was just a crazy theory after all. While Michelle Stantial stomps around in the background playing with her phone. Who plays with their phone when there is an AMOY baby in hand? We’ll have to get Michelle to form some of her own interspecies relationships. I think I have an idea. Stay tuned for that.
Before you know it, RELI is playing “Got Your Nose!” with the newly-minted A65… and A65 is loving every moment of it.
Paternity Test Passed. PURE AMOY.
Allison is thrilled that the mission was such a success, and that everyone will stop staining T2’s miracle.
And just before collapsing in the back seat of her car, NIKI finds the strength to take the high honor of releasing A65 back to us.

It was just a theory. Besides, everybody knows an AMPOY-PIPL hybrid looks something like one of these:

Artist’s Rendering: The Dark Theory.