Sunday, March 29, 2009

Carter's Tern-about

When a 20-something woman began running down Barefoot Beach I took notice. In front of her was a flock of 25-30 Royal Terns and assorted gulls and her intent was obvious - get every single bird to fly. As bird after bird took off to avoid the rampaging woman in a sun dress, Ma-Le suggested that we (including my sister Tara and family) get up and rampage toward the woman. I would have done it if I wasn't tired, comfortable, lazy and just too embarrassed to perform this display of karmic balance. I wish I had - I was annoyed - the woman not only disrupted our peaceful setting but when birds are disturbed like this they waste energy. One person doing this might not impact them much but repeated disruptions?

The woman and friends passed. The birds settled back down and relaxed and than my nephew decided to go for a stroll of his own.
Ah - some day I'll explain it all to him.....


  1. it's cute when a toddler does it

  2. Nice story Pete. I have been in just such a situation not far from the flock watching them with my scope when people have just wandered right past me and into the flocks fright range making them all lift off. Thanks, I wasn't watching them or anything.

  3. well they are just birds. My other sister actually watched a ten year old throwing rocks at gulls. She threw rocks at the boy and asked how he liked it. I don't condone it - but it was funny.

  4. phew! your sister is crazy! Carter is so cute. Glad he got to enjoy the beach it looks like it was a nice evening.

  5. Excuse the tardiness of this reply, but I'm just now reviewing a manuscript that addresses just this sort of human disturbance on waterbirds. There's actually a great body of literature emerging that examines the costs and benefits of such disturbance. Though the birds clearly expend energy moving away from the immediate disturbance, they often "benefit" greatly from the vast amount of food we so eagerly provide.

    Still, I would have loved to chase after the woman.