Monday, April 18, 2011

The Sandpiper, my favorite bird

     If you had to be a bird, which species would you choose? Would you live the life of an eagle, a sparrow, a humming bird, a white swan, or something else? The sandpiper is my favorite bird, because it acts very much as Americans should act.
     First, the sandpiper is one of the most successful of all birds. In 1840, James Audubon wrote that sandpipers were "quite abundant along the margins of the Mississippi, the Ohio, and their tributaries, At the present time we find the bird apparently little diminished in numbers”. That fellow inhabits nearly every section of the U.S. It takes winter vacations in California and along the gulf coast.
     Sandpipers are very industrious and ingenious. They harvest insect populations, wherever they live… any bug, flying or crawling, fit their menu. Each bird has an built in alarm system, and it knows when to get out of harm’s way by vibrating wings held stiffly and cupped with the tips depressed, sailing along the shore away from danger. Even the young defend themselves by jumping into nearby water, swimming under water, or lying motionless among rocks and wood on a shoreline.
     For some reason, hunters don’t kill sandpipers. The birds walk their stride and whistles “peet-weet-weet”, while hunters walk past. The do not flock, but fly to various regions as individuals, who are responsible for their own well being. Their flight is unique, too. Their wings seem to vibrate. As the bird gains headway, they set and, depressed and quivering, their wings carry the bird forward, often swaying from side to side, low and close to surface. Their range is very versatile, any place from sea level to mountain heights of 14,000 ft.
     And the males are horny, because they show off in front the female sandpipers. The mating couples cleverly camouflage their nest among high grasses or above water line in a driftwood area. For some reason, sandpiper moms usually lay four eggs in May. These tiny birds know how to have fun while they work. Their actions show a comical prancing movement, and they seem to enjoy these antics by repeating them. The female is about looking good, dressed her feathers without looking at the male’s performance.
Can’t these citizen birds live the American Dream! They are able to:
• completely take care of themselves and their family without
   any government entitlement programs;
• Select, build and own their personal property;
• Teach and protect their off springs;
• Freedom to travel, even fly, without restrictions;
• Procreate in a heterosexual manner;
• Avoid killers and hostile environments
• Live in a balanced state of economy, liberty, and
   nature’s bounty;
• Proven personality that adjusts, enhances, and assists others
   in the quality of life.
     Benjamin Franklin wanted the wild North American Turkey as our national bird. Others choose the American Bald eagle.  But we poor bastards have in our U.S. Congress a herd of ostriches: long legged birds with plumed butts that run from its enemies. They have long necks with large nostrils to lift high and smell which way the wind is blowing. If trouble gets too close, they stick their heads in a hole, as not to see emanate danger
     Sandpipers understand about responsibility. They know that American freedom requires more direct personal action than running away or hiding your head in the easiest hole….“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security  will deserve neither and lose both. “- Benjamin Franklin.

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