Monday, March 22, 2010

Snowy Plover Sanibel

Last year, the birders were beside themselves over the notion of seeing the Piping Plover, on the flimsy reed of hope that finally broke their hearts, once the few but adamant voices were silenced by the near certainty that the bird was not to be seen. Genetically very similar, but far more common than the Piping Plover, scientists began to re-engage in the study of the more common Snowy plover. As with last year's enthusiasm, the hope was that the study of the close cousin might be found to have enough similarity to breed a "clone" if you will, using the understanding that has come with the interest in the bird. As an unabashed voyeur, where birds are concerned, I was able today, to observe and nearly to find a spot in the boudoir, as it were, as I watched the courtship and carnal union of a banded snowy plover from last year (as judged by the bands on the male) and a new individual. The carnal event took seven minutes, standing on the back of the male, and seemed to my eye to be a success. Time will tell.

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