Heartbeats in the Sand

It’s about heartbeats.

Our Long Beach oystercatcher drama unfolds under a fog these days.

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The three oystercatcher chicks who hatched are doing well and growing to pigeon size already. But care still needs to be taken.


Mom takes off on the approach of a gull

They are still vulnerable to gulls, raccoons and pet dogs.

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The wheels of all beach vehicles can be terror to chicks…but work must proceed

My morning observation yesterday showed the passing beach vehicles were keeping well away from the chicks. But we do have worried bird lovers in Anne Bickford’s Long Beach Oystercatcher Group who think more care needs to be taken. Anne’s Group:

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This Hempstead conservation team was protecting our beach wildlife

I think that even when the hatchlings are running out of the cone areas that are set up for the nests, a single cone with a sign, “VULNERABLE WILDLIFE IN AREA” would be beneficial to leave up. This would remind the beach crews, and beachgoers, of the presence of the flightless and fragile among us. The crews’ own concerns were demonstrated in a blog post I wrote May of last year :

And in the spring of 2014 I caught the nesters protecting the chicks like a scene from Tiananmen Square: .

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The chicks still need some help with sustenance.

To the west there still sits determined parents on the eggs that were over-washed by a high tide on May 7th:


Beach life

I think the sitter’s efforts are hopeless in that the ocean temp was 46 degrees when the high-tide over washed the nest. But I’ve been wrong many times in my life and I’d be delighted to be in error this time. Research has shown that eggs can survive over washed nests:

But I did contact pet and wildlife expert, Marc Morrone. He’s writes a weekly Pets column for NY Newsday, He can be reached at I explained the SIT-uation…if you will.

He said that if the birds are experienced enough “they will know the eggs are no good by the lack of heartbeats. If the birds are young they will do it until they finally give up.”

Yes, heartbeats in the sand. Let’s hope these birds are old salts at sitting and do experience heartbeats beneath them.

Now, some might think, “Why all the attention and focus on such minor players on planet Earth when there is so much human tragedy to worry about. After all, they are only birds.”

Well, we are besieged with so much human tragedy daily. e.g., There were 1,030 humans drowned in the Mediterranean sea, many children…in only the last week. They were fleeing other forms of death in the sands of Syria…execution by ISIS. That’s only one example of human tragedy. I need not list all…you see them too, every day, on the morning news.

Some among us find respite in happy hours, or sports, or TV reality shows. That’s all fine, I like some of it too. But some of us find it in the reality…right in front of us.

Many of us find it a fantastic relief to be able to watch life close-up, vulnerable shore birds among them, struggle in their own survival on our little blue planet. Some of us can easily relate to their struggles. We root for them.

It’s about heartbeats.

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Be well,


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