A Killdeer’s Broken Wing Act

Is it unethical for a videographer to peer at Mama Killdeer’s eggs in order to film the female doing her broken wing act? If so, I’m guilty. But she did perform with √©lan.
Killdeers are shorebirds … who don’t need a shore. If you don’t believe me, visit any high school football field or golf course, where you’ll likely find a nesting pair of Killdeer. They’ll help you find them by screaming “killdeer” as they fly off in alarm. In fact their Latin name testifies to their noisy habits: Charadrius Vociferus.
They produce “precocial” babies–babies that are already fluffy, ready to run, and able to feed themselves. What’s more, those babies are all born at the same time, no matter how many days apart the eggs were laid. That’s because the first egg laid does not begin to develop until the mother Killdeer begins incubating the eggs. She doesn’t do that until the last egg has been laid.
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Snake: Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer

Just because you’re out birdwatching doesn’t mean you don’t see other wildlife. My husband and I happened on a snake in a birdwatching blind. This Racer didn’t show us how fast he could move, but he did show us, closeup, how fast he can flick his tongue. He was smelling us to decide if we were dangerous.

When I was in my twenties, I was terrified of snakes. So when I was about thirty, I went to a biology teacher who kept them in his science room and asked him to help me get over that fear. He did so by having me touch a boa constrictor–a large one–because he said that it was so large it wouldn’t make any sudden, scary moves. He was right. By the time I left, I had draped the snake around my shoulders and enjoyed the feel of its muscles moving. (And when I got home, my cat bit me because he smelled a snake on me.)

You can see all my movies on my YouTube channel: Jo Alwood.

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