Shorebirds: Diversionary Tactics

A walk along a coastal path at this time of the year can be unexpectedly startling.  Some birds can be downright sneaky, feigning tricks to lure would-be predators or trespassers away from their territory if there are vulnerable chicks to protect.  The plovers and waders tend to use diversionary tactics, the “broken-wing” act or the “rodent run” pretending to run off after some imaginary prey.   The seagulls can get testy too, strafing unsuspecting hikers with dive-bomb manuevres; and the ostriches need to be given a wide berth as you just don’t mess with either ma or pa as they are capable of inflicting lethal damage.  _DSC1364

Kittlitz's plover mum and chick_DSC8077A Kittlitz’s plover and it’s chick are well camouflaged between the rocks and kelp.Broken wing act_DSC8073The parent bird moves away and feigns an act to attract attention away from the chick.Kittlitz's plover chick_DSC8071The chick stands dead still and is hard to spot amongst the beach flotsam.

While further along the beach a group of beachgoers sets up a picnic spot._DSC9010The perfect beach spot right?  Except for the pair of little white-fronted plovers now having to protect the location of their chick.

_DSC9021It is a little too close for comfort for the agitated parent birds, while the beachgoers are blithely unaware of the stress they are causing. The birds try a number of diversionary tactics, different flight patterns, the ‘broken-wing’ act and directional charging; yet there the umbrella and people remain for the day!  _DSC8554

12 responses to “Shorebirds: Diversionary Tactics

  1. Excellent story and documentation. I hope the plovers survived the ordeal! As you probably know, that sort of interaction is commonly seen here when our dry-land plover, the killdeer, is nesting in the gravel along driveways, roadsides, etc. (a story I’d like to capture this spring).

  2. We have plovers nesting in a specific area of our beach and I was dive-bombed once when I got too near. The dog lovers hate it because they are banned during nesting season. Have also seen the broken wing trick. Amazing little creatures well represented in your lovely post Liz!

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