And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. (Leviticus 11:19 KJV)
The White-crowned Lapwing above was my first Lapwing encountered. They were at the National Aviary in Pittsburg, PA. They are from the tropical regions of Africa and have a diet of insects and other small invertebrates. (Fun Fact from Aviary) ~ White-headed Wattled Lapwings will bravely defend their territories against all comers, even hippos!
Now almost every zoo we visit has at least one species of Lapwing present. We see the Masked Lapwing most frequently. The reason Lapwings are mentioned in the Bible is because it is on the “Do Not Eat” list.
Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles) Brevard Zoo by Lee
And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. (Deuteronomy 14:18 KJV)
The Masked Lapwings are interesting to watch as they walk around on their long legs and as the “wattle” wiggles.
Vanellinae are any of various crested plovers, family Charadriidae, noted for its slow, irregular wingbeat in flight and a shrill, wailing cry. Its length is 10-16 inches. They are a subfamily of medium-sized wading birds which also includes the plovers and dotterels. The Vanellinae are collectively called lapwings but also contain the ancient Red-kneed Dotterel. A lapwing can be thought of as a larger plover.
The traditional terms “plover”, “lapwing” and “dotterel” were coined long before modern understandings of the relationships between different groups of birds emerged: in consequence, several of the Vanellinae are still often called “plovers”, and the reverse also applies, albeit more rarely, to some Charadriinae (the “true” plovers and dotterels).
In Europe, “lapwing” often refers specifically to the Northern Lapwing, the only member of this group to occur in most of the continent. (Wikipedia)
Here are some photos of Lapwings in the Vanellinae genera.
From col. F. M. Woodruff.Copyrighted by Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.
THE BELTED PIPING PLOVER.
N the Missouri river region and in contiguous parts of the interior of the United States, the Belted Piping Plover is a common summer resident, and is found along the shores of the great lakes, breeding on the flat, pebbly beach between the sand dunes and shore. It is the second of the ring-necked Plovers, and arrives in April in scattering flocks, which separate into pairs a month later. It strays at times into the interior, and has been known to breed on the borders of ponds many miles from the coast. In New England, however, it seldom wanders far from the shore, and prefers sand islands near the main land for its nesting haunts. Nelson says, that some thirty pairs, which were breeding along the beach at Waukegan, within a space of two miles, successfully concealed their nests, for which he made diligent search, although the birds were continually circling about or standing at a short distance, uttering an occasional note of alarm.
These birds have a soft, low, piping note, which they utter not only upon the wing, but occasionally as they run about upon the ground, and, during the early nesting season, a peculiar, loud, prolonged, musical call, that readily attracts attention. In other respects, their habits are not noticeably differed from the Semi-palmated. (See July Birds)
Their nests are without lining, a mere depression in the sand. The eggs are usually four, light gray to creamy buff, finely and rather sparsely speckled or dotted with blackish brown and purplish gray.
The female Belted Piping Plover is similar to the male, but with the dark colors lighter and less in extent. The young have no black band in front, while the collar around the neck is ashy brown.
These interesting and valuable game birds are found associated with various beach birds and Sandpipers, and they become exceedingly fat during the latter part of the summer.
All the Plovers have a singular habit when alighting on the ground in the nesting time; they drop their wings, stand with their legs half bent, and tremble as if unable to support their bodies. In this absurd position they will stand, according to a well-known observer, for several minutes, uttering a curious sound, and then seem to balance themselves with great difficulty. This singular manœuvre is no doubt intended to produce a belief that they may be easily caught, and thus turn the attention of the egg-gatherer from the pursuit of the eggs to themselves, their eggs being recognized the world over, as a great delicacy.
The Plover utters a piping sound
While on the wing or on the ground;
All a tremble it drops its wings,
And, with legs half bent, it sings:
“My nest is near, come take the eggs,
And take me too,—I’m off my legs.”
In vain men search with eager eyes,
No nest is found, the Plover flies!
—C. C. M
THE BELTED PIPING PLOVER.—Aegialitis meloda circumcincta.
Range—Missouri river region; occasionally eastward to the Atlantic coast.
Nest—Depression in the sand without lining.
Eggs—Four, light gray to creamy buff, finely speckled with blackish brown and purplish gray.
Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) by J Fenton
Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, (Psalms 17:8 KJV)
Even though these birds make nest right out in the open, the Lord has given them the instincts and knowledge to protect themselves and their young. He does not leave them defenseless. Jim Fenton did a great job capturing these little birds. I especially like the one below. That little one is under not only the shadow of both wings, but the whole body. Aren’t we like that sometimes? We feel like we need lots of protection and love from our Savior.
Today this bird is known only as a Piping Plover and is in the Charadriidae Family of Plovers, Dotterels and Lapwings. Currently there are 67 species assigned to the family. According to What Bird, “Piping plovers will sometimes extend one foot out into wet sand and vibrate it to scare up food items, a foraging technique known as foot-trembling.” That may explain the trembling mentioned above. They also use the “feigned broken wing” like Killdeers to lure predators away from their nests.
Wikipedia says, “The Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) is a small sand-colored, sparrow-sized shorebird that nests and feeds along coastal sand and gravel beaches in North America. The adult has yellow-orange legs, a black band across the forehead from eye to eye, and a black ring around the neck. This chest band is usually thicker in males during the breeding season, and it’s the only reliable way to tell the sexes apart. It is difficult to see when standing still as it blends well with open, sandy beach habitats. It typically runs in short and stops.
There are 2 subspecies of Piping Plovers: the eastern population is known as Charadrius melodus melodus and the mid-west population is known as Charadrius melodus circumcinctus. The bird’s name is derived from its plaintive bell-like whistles which are often heard before the bird is visible. On average, circumcinctus is darker overall with more contrastingly dark cheeks and lores. Breeding male circumcinctus shows more extensive black on forehead and bill-base and more often shows complete breast-bands. Some overlap exists.
Their breeding habitat includes beaches or sand flats on the Atlantic coast, the shores of the Great Lakes, and in the mid-west of Canada and the United States. They nest on sandy or gravel beaches or shoals. These shorebirds forage for food on beaches, usually by sight, moving across the beaches in short bursts. Generally, Piping Plovers will forage for food around the high tide wrack zone and along the waters edge. They mainly eat insects, marine worms, and crustaceans.
Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) by J Fenton
Piping Plovers migrate north in the summer and winters to the south on the Gulf of Mexico, the southern Atlantic coast of the United States and the Caribbean. They begin migrating north beginning in mid-March. Their breeding grounds extend from southern Newfoundland south to the northern parts of South Carolina. They begin mating and nesting on the beach in mid-April.
After a chick hatches it is able to feed within hours. The adults’ role is then to protect them from the elements by brooding them. They also alert them to any danger. Like many other species of plovers, adult Piping Plovers will often feign a “broken wing display”, drawing attention to themselves and away from the chicks when a predator may be threatening the chicks’ safety. The “broken wing display” is also used during the nesting period to distract predators from the nest. A major defense mechanism in the chicks is their ability to blend in with the sand. It takes about 30 days before a chick achieves flight capability. They must be able to fly at least 50 yards before they can be considered as fledglings.
The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.
Ring Plover – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897
Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited
Vol 2. July, 1897 No. 1
THE SEMI-PALMATED RING PLOVER.
N THEIR habits the Plovers are usually active; they run and fly with equal facility, and though they rarely attempt to swim, are not altogether unsuccessful in that particular.
The Semi-palmated Ring Plover utters a plaintive whistle, and during the nesting season can produce a few connected pleasing notes. The three or four pear-shaped, variagated eggs are deposited in a slight hollow in the ground, in which a few blades of grass are occasionally placed. Both parents assist in rearing the young. Worms, small quadrupeds, and insects constitute their food. Their flesh is regarded as a delicacy, and they are therefore objects of great attraction to the sportsman, although they often render themselves extremely troublesome by uttering their shrill cry and thus warning their feathered companions of the approach of danger. From this habit they have received the name of “tell-tales.” Dr. Livingstone said of the African species: “A most plaguey sort of public spirited individual follows you everywhere, flying overhead, and is most persevering in his attempts to give fair warning to all animals within hearing to flee from the approach of danger.”
The American Ring Plover nests as far north as Labrador, and is common on our shores from August to October, after which it migrates southward. Some are stationary in the southern states. It is often called the Ring Plover, and has been supposed to be identical with the European Ringed Plover.
It is one of the commonest of shore birds. It is found along the beaches and easily identified by the complete neck ring, white upon dark and dark upon light. Like the Sandpipers the Plovers dance along the shore in rhythm with the wavelets, leaving sharp half-webbed footprints on the wet sand. Though usually found along the seashore, Samuels says that on their arrival in spring, small flocks follow the courses of large rivers, like the Connecticut. He also found a single pair building on Muskeget, the famous haunt of Gulls, off the shore of Massachusetts. It has been found near Chicago, Illinois, in July.
THE RING PLOVER.
Plovers belong to a class of birds called Waders.
They spend the winters down south, and early in the spring begin their journey north. By the beginning of summer they are in the cold north, where they lay their eggs and hatch their young. Here they remain until about the month of August, when they begin to journey southward. It is on their way back that we see most of them.
While on their way north, they are in a hurry to reach their nesting places, so only stop here and there for food and rest.
Coming back with their families, we often see them in ploughed fields. Here they find insects and seeds to eat.
The Ring Plover is so called from the white ring around its neck.
These birds are not particular about their nests. They do not build comfortable nests as most birds do. They find a place that is sheltered from the north winds, and where the sun will reach them. Here they make a rude nest of the mosses lying around.
The eggs are somewhat pointed, and placed in the nest with the points toward the center. In this way the bird can more easily cover the eggs.
We find, among most birds, that after the nest is made, the mother bird thinks it her duty to hatch the young.
The father bird usually feeds her while she sits on the eggs. In some of the bird stories, you have read how the father and mother birds take turns in building the nest, sitting on the nest, and feeding the young.
Some father birds do all the work in building the nest, and take care of the birds when hatched.
Among plovers, the father bird usually hatches the young, and lets the wife do as she pleases.
After the young are hatched they help each other take care of them.
Plovers have long wings, and can fly very swiftly.
The distance between their summer and winter homes is sometimes very great.
SEMI-PALMATED PLOVER.—Ægialitis semi-palmata. Other names: “American Ring Plover,” “Ring Neck,” “Beach Bird.” Front, throat, ring around neck, and entire under parts white; band of deep black across the breast; upper parts ashy brown. Toes connected at base.
Range—North America in general, breeding in the Arctic and sub-arctic districts, winters from the Gulf States to Brazil.
Nest—Depression in the ground, with lining of dry grass.
Eggs—Three or four; buffy white, spotted with chocolate.
Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus) by S Slayton
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen— Even the beasts of the field, The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth! (Psalms 8:3-9 NKJV)
The Semipalmated Plover (Charadrius semipalmatus) is a small plover. We see them here at our shores. Florida has lots of shoreline.
This species weighs 0.78–2.2 oz (22–63 g) and measures 5.5–7.9 in (14–20 cm) in length and 14–22 in (35–56 cm) across the wings. Adults have a grey-brown back and wings, a white belly, and a white breast with one black neckband. They have a brown cap, a white forehead, a black mask around the eyes and a short orange and black bill.
Their breeding habitat is open ground on beaches or flats across northern Canada and Alaska. They nest on the ground in an open area with little or no plant growth.
They are migratory and winter in coastal areas ranging from the United States to Patagonia. They are extremely rare vagrants to western Europe, although their true status may be obscured by the difficulty in identifying them from the very similar Ringed Plover of Eurasia, of which it was formerly considered a subspecies.
These birds forage for food on beaches, tidal flats and fields, usually by sight. They eat insects, crustaceans and worms.
“Broken wing” display
This bird resembles the Killdeer but is much smaller and has only one band. The term “semipalmated” refers to its partly webbed feet. Like the Killdeer and since its nest is on the ground, it uses a “broken-wing” display to lure intruders away from the nest. (Wikipedia)
If a bird’s nest happens to be before you along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, with the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young; (Deuteronomy 22:6 NKJV)
Semipalmated Plovers belong to the Charadriidae – Plovers Family. There are 67 species that “are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings, but most species of lapwing may have more rounded wings. Their bill are usually straight (except for the Wrybill) and short, their toes are short, hind toe could be reduced or absent, depending on species. Most Charadriidae also have relatively short tails, the Killdeer is the exception. In most genera, the sexes are similar, very little sexual dimorphism occurs between sexes. They range in size from the Collared Plover, at 26 grams and 14 cm (5.5 inches), to the Masked Lapwing, at 368 grams (13 oz) and 35 cm (14 inches)
The above article is an article in the monthly serial for May 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.