Saturday, December 20, 2008

Two blog themes: Birds and Disability


Robb and I went out cycling today, because rain was expected Sunday, and because we wanted to stay as far away from holiday shopping as we possibly could. Robb's bad balance makes being in crowded stores a very trying experience. I have no legitimate excuse -- I just hate shopping.

We had stopped along the San Francisco Bay Trail to look at a mixed flock of shorebirds, and one particular Willet caught my eye. It seemed to be a bit more active in its feeding than the other birds.

It was jamming its head further into the mud than its fellows, and flapping its wings while the other birds stayed still. I stood and watched this bird for quite some time, and then it hit me.

This plump, healthy bird only had one leg. All that movement was this bird's way of maintaining its balance as it fed. I can only imagine that it had to eat more food than a healthy Willet, because all that flapping and hopping around surely used up a lot of energy.

And yet, it seemed to be doing just fine.


cath said...


Marmalade said...

We have a seagull with a gimpy leg visit us at the beach house. Looks like a birth defect and he can't use the leg at all. Everytime I see him, I marvel that he has survived for so many years. Nature is wonderful in its ability to adapt.

Becky said...

I love that little bird!

I think simply not "buying in" (so to speak) to the Christmas shopping lunacy is legitimate excuse enough! I live near a mall and one can feel the stress rise above the area like a toxic cloud. And to that I say "Nay".

Marg said...

This is so interesting! I love to see survivors like that


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