Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Travails of Motherhood

I’ll get to the picture above in a little bit. But I want to tell another story first.

So I’m riding my bicycle near the high school this past week when a killdeer swoops down in front of me and begins to stagger in almost a drunken manner, turning this way, turning that way, all the time its wings hanging like they’re broken or injured or something.

I’ve seen this killdeer act enough over the years to know what it means. This is a mother killdeer who has a nest or babies nearby and is trying to lure me, the predator, away from them.

But I’m on pavement in the middle of parking drives and parking lots, bozo! As I’m thinking that I see some commotion off to the side.


Well, I’ll be. Skittering parallel to me, on the street, was a baby chick killdeer. He could run really fast, but fly or hop the curb when he got to it? Forget it. I angled off and rode some distance, then stopped to watch.

I could see now there were three baby killdeer in the same area, with the mother urgently trying to corral them so she could lead them to safety. You heard of the term “someone herding cats?” That person had it easy compared to this mama.

Eventually she got them near a handicapped ramp that would take them out of the street and into the safety of some nearby grass and shrubs. But the babies ignored their mother’s tweeting pleas, and continued to peck here, wander there, seemingly happy to play in the street. I don’t know how the story ends because I rode off then.

Fast forward to another bike ride, and note the picture at the top of my blog here. As I rode past the crosswalk you see abutting the sidewalk, I saw a young mother stride purposefully into that tall grass beyond the sidewalk, near a tiny creek just out of view there.

What could she possibly be looking for that in that bug-infested muck, I thought to myself. I turned my head as I kept riding and saw her reach down into the tall grass and pull out . . . a kid! She set him down in the cut grass then returned to the tall grass, reaching down again and pulling out . . . a tiny bike with training wheels!

Now it became clear what had happened. The kid must have gotten a head of steam riding his bike across the street and when he came to where the crosswalk ended at the sidewalk, he just kept on going, ending up down in the swamp.

Made me think, millions of years of evolution, but the role of a mother hasn't really changed.


Blogger Carine said...

Dave, I cringed at the bird. I am known as a person who simply has a "fear of birds". and for just the scenario you described. the swooping down and pecking. maybe it was a college film class on Hitchcock where i was forced to watch and then dissect the film "The Birds". whatever, I'm sorry your bike ride was so rudely interrupted, even if it was a mother protecting her babies. cringe, cower, ew.

9:01 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

CARINE--Killdeer are noisy and all but pretty harmless. But now that you mention it, a couple times I've had a blackbird following me, literally hovering over my head while it's calling out. That's rather unnerving.

3:47 AM  
Blogger TechnoBabe said...

Once at Sea World I paid for the lunch and picked up the tray and turned around to meet up with my friends and a bazillion seagulls attacked me. I could hear so many people saying things like "look at that woman being attacked by seagulls" but no one helped. In a few seconds the seagulls had removed all the food out of the paper cups and bowls and the tray was empty! Sea World people were inside watching and they handed me a new tray full of food.

That is quite a story about the little guy driving his bike with training wheels down into the swamp.

5:08 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

TECHNOBABE--Seagulls at the beach are like vultures with an attitude. It is illegal to feed seagulls at some tourist spots in Michigan. But sometimes they just help themselves.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Dave ~~I have never heard of killdeers before, so now I know of another bird with mother looking after her chicks. Than later a mother looking after her child.
Some bike ride - never a dull moment. Glad the weather is nice in Michigan too.
I wondered how they found out some of those 'facts' too, although I have heard that the hearing is the last sense to go before a few times.
I am very blessed to have such a great family and we all love each other and like to visit. The older I get, the easier I am to get on with. I have mellowed.
Take care my friend, Regards, Merle

4:36 AM  
Blogger Nankin said...

I once saw a cop in Illinois angle his squad car across the lanes of the service road. When I looked closer, I discovered that he was escorting a mother duck and her brood to safety. Then there was the case of the baby duck that broke it's leg. The mother had chosen the pond at a local hospital, and the staff set the ducks leg with a tiny splint. I love watching birds.

3:25 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home