See, I've always been positive that animals understand me, and that most of them actually talk back when I converse with them, even if its only via gestures and eye contact. Valentina has more than once had to drag me away from from the mallards at the town lake, who always seem more than willing to chat ("mamma, come on...they're just ducks!"), and is a little confused as to how they seem to understand me when I sound the same as any other human. Because even she (Miss Reality) has to admit that some communication is talking place. I personally think its all about believing: I never lost my sense for the magical, and so I live in a magical world. Animals can see that, and most little kids too.
So back to the oystercatcher. I began to chat her up and complement her (all animals love that!), then I asked her to give us a good clean photo op. She kleeped a few times, then hopped up onto a headstone and posed. I turned on my digital zoom, framed it, and got this shot. It's a little pixel-y, but that's beside the point. What really matters is the collaborative effort between this charming oystercatcher, my camera and me.
By the way, here is a very cool article about oystercatchers. I'll give you a tidbit:
Scientists from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands had been studying oystercatchers for almost a decade before a team member, Dik Heg, made the first sighting of female-female consortship. When he saw it, his jaw practically dropped to his mud-splattered field boots.
"I thought I was crazy, I thought I was imagining things," he said in an interview. "They were two females who had spent the whole winter fighting, very aggressively, and then one day, there they were, copulating."
Dr. Heg and his colleague Rob van Treuren described their findings in a recent issue of the journal Nature.
"This is one thing you wouldn't have expected in oystercatchers, but there it is," said Dr. Bruno J. Ens of the Institute of Forestry and Nature Research in the Netherlands, who wrote a commentary that accompanied the report. "Of course, you're talking about a bird that can live to be quite old, 40 years or longer, which gives it a bit of time to build up complicated relationships."
Posted by Iceland Eyes on May 29, 2005