The Fallen Yellowlegs – 10,000 Birds

Animalstuffstore IMG_3416 The Fallen Yellowlegs – 10,000 Birds Bird

Yesterday morning was merely a kind of extremely eventful birding classes, about which I could expound upon in components throughout the coming weeks. After a number of (comparatively) run-of-the-mill birding missions throughout the rainforest and alongside the coasts of Tobago over the previous few weeks, we stored getting our socks knocked off whereas birding the wetlands of southwest Tobago yesterday. From real rarities to undocumented polymorphism – the magic of birding was actually in full swing. Rising above all inside my psyche nonetheless, is the next sequence of occasions that unfolded earlier than breakfast.

On a tiny island there’s a restricted choice of areas, and I’ve written about these ponds on a prior post. Upon arrival, exercise appeared sluggish. Many of the birds have been within the furthest ponds, a pair of juvenile Black Skimmers have been training their approach throughout the confines of the oblong ponds. A concrete wall halving one of many ponds was a preferred relaxation spot for a number of birds. All for making pictures, I drifted away from this wall.

Be aware of this Larger Yellowlegs on the wall from a screengrab of a video of the Black Skimmer.

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My consideration was pulled to the wall after I seen this motley crew of shorebirds. L-R: White-rumped Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Larger Yellowlegs, Brief-billed Dowitcher, Larger Yellowlegs

To my shock, quietly floating beside the wall was the limp physique of a Larger Yellowlegs, a few of its feathers nonetheless dry. Its head drifted awkwardly away from its lifeless physique. One way or the other throughout the quiet stillness of this cool tropical morning, a chicken closed its eyes for the final time and unceremoniously slipped away underneath the brooding, overcast sky. With out a lot as a splash, it slipped into the water.

Animalstuffstore dead-yellowlegs-3831 The Fallen Yellowlegs – 10,000 Birds Bird

A second of silence for the departed.

I say unceremoniously – however I’m utilizing the human metric by which we resolve what makes noise and what doesn’t. Clearly there was some measure of communication; some broadcast message went out to all related events. Life departed from one more little physique, and all have been notified.

Over the course of the next hour or so we noticed many various species *coincidentally* alight on the wall close to to the physique of the fallen yellowlegs. Solely species not pictured is Lesser Yellowlegs, when a pair flew in I used to be too busy evaluating the dimensions of the floating physique to the reside birds to correctly verify the ID of the lifeless chicken. Apologies for excluding them from this carousel.

Animalstuffstore dead-yellowlegs-and-gallinule-3832 The Fallen Yellowlegs – 10,000 Birds Bird

This Widespread Gallinule walked from the place it was perched so far, made a pair unusual positions with its physique, then flew off.

Animalstuffstore black-bellied-whistling-duck-and-dead-yellowlegs-3874 The Fallen Yellowlegs – 10,000 Birds Bird

This Black-bellied Whistling Duck was on its option to go to its mate and younger brood additional afield in the identical pond however made a detour.

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Noticed Sandpiper

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We left this pair of Least Sandpipers on the scene.

There are lots of questions which comply with an statement comparable to this. I spoke a few posts ago on the bond between a Whimbrel and a Willet (I can affirm we noticed the identical pair, nonetheless collectively, later this similar morning) – and I seen an identical kinship between a Pectoral Sandpiper and a White-rumped Sandpiper. Wherever one flew, so did the opposite. With related migration routes, would this pair journey collectively from one nook of the planet to the opposite?

Animalstuffstore pectoral-and-white-rumped-sandpipers-3795 The Fallen Yellowlegs – 10,000 Birds Bird

Pectoral Sandpiper (L) and White-rumped Sandpiper (R)

Additional consideration should be given to the character of the visitations. Paying respects? Was it some form of funeral? Did the Black-bellied Whistling Duck symbolize his household, “displaying face” as we are saying right here within the Caribbean? Or was all of it dumb luck, the randomness of nature at play, pure coincidence?

Animals clearly see loss of life and expertise it as we do, so the query is just not one in all if, however of how. Elephants, peccaries, and corvids have all been documented processing the loss of life of (as we put it) a cherished one. So far as I’m conscious, these practices have at all times concerned a member of the household group, the flock – on the very least a member of the identical species. This isn’t an try to anthropomorphize, as that will point out that people are the one creatures able to possessing sure traits. There may be a lot we nonetheless must study as a species occupying actual property on this planet (as if the ecological disaster didn’t already make that abundantly clear) however I imagine the most important hurdle could also be coming to phrases with accepting that simply because one thing hasn’t been noticed doesn’t point out its non-existence.

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