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Lessons on Perspective and Perception from a Wailing Killdeer Lessons on Perspective and Perception from a Wailing Killdeer
by Leah Sellers
2017-08-09 08:07:46
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“Mama, Mama !  There’s a Killdeer with a hurt wing that needs help, but it won’t let us catch it,”  the little seven year old Girl complained as she and her six year old Sister ran through the back door and into the Family Kitchen.
de01_400“Yeah, Mama.  It keeps running away, and fluttering around in different parts of the field, and crying out for help, but it won’t let us help it,” the Younger Sister confirmed.
Their Mama was washing dishes at the kitchen sink.  She stopped, and drying her hands on a nearby dish towel said, “Alright girls, let’s all head out to the area of the field where you last saw the Killdeer.”
“Thank you, Mama.  Follow us.  You can help us save the Bird,”  the Older Sister, Betsy, proclaimed.
“Yeah, Mama, we can all save the Killdeer,”  the Younger Sister, Jenny, agreed as all Three headed out the back door and walked into the rolling, oak tree strewn field of their Family Farm.
“Looky here, Jenny.  The Killdeer is right back in the same place we first saw it.”
Mama turned to her Two Daughters and said quietly, but firmly, “You Girls stand right here while I go out and check on the Killdeer.  Don’t come running after me.  You might frighten it.  Stay right here and pay attention.  I’ll call you over when you’re needed.  Understand ?”
“Yes, ma’am,”  said Betsy.
“Yes, ma’am,”  said Jenny.
Mama turned and approached the small Killdeer slowly and steadily.  The closer she got, the more agitated the Killdeer behaved.  Finally, the white and black bird with the orange-yellow underbelly cried out and took off running to the far right of its original position.  Then suddenly, the Killdeer stopped and fluttered about, ruffling its feathers, and acting as though it had a broken wing, while it cried out in a high pitched wailing call of alarm.
But Mama ignored the Killdeer, and instead continued to move toward the thick clump of high grass the Killdeer had fled from.
The Killdeer jumped up and moved a little closer to Mama, and laid down on the ground again, and repeated her plaintive cries and broken wing fluttering.
Mama stopped at the thick clump of grass and said, “Girls, come here.”
The Two Sisters ran to their Mama’s side.  Following their Mama’s gaze, they both stared down at the cluster of small, off-white and darkly speckled Bird Eggs laying snugly in a small Nest, nestled within the grassy clump.
“The Killdeer is not hurt, Girls.  She is Protecting her future Babies.”  Mama explained, as the Killdeer called out more loudly and fluttered about with wilder desperation.
“But why does the Mommy Bird act like she’s hurt, Mama ?”  Asked Betsy.
“To draw attention to herself in order to draw away any creature that she sees as a threat to her Eggs,”  Mama answered.
“You mean that she runs around acting like she hurt, and crying out like that, so that we’ll follow her instead of finding her Eggs ?”  Betsy asked.
“Yes, Betsy.  And her broken wing routine worked.  Neither you or Jenny even realized that she had a Nest with Eggs in it.  You were too busy trying to chase after the Mama Killdeer in order to help her, because you thought that she was injured.”
“She tricked us,”  Betsy said with a wide grin on her face.
“But Mama, we weren’t going to hurt her Babies,”  Jenny said.
“I know that, Jenny.  But the Mother Killdeer didn’t.  From her Perspective she Perceived that you were Predators, and a threat to her Babies.  She did not understand your Intentions,”  Mama said gently.
“So, the whole time we were trying to catch her to help her, she was just tricking us to get us away from her Nest,”  Betsy paused.  “That is very smart of her, Mama.”
“Yes, it is, honey.  Good parents often find themselves having to do all sorts of things to Protect their Young,”  Mama added.
“But Mama, I have never seen you flutter around with a broken wing and crying out for help,”  Betsy giggled.
“No, Betsy, nor will you, ha !  But if I were Mama Killdeer, I’m sure that I would do whatever Killdeers always do to protect their Young,”  Mama said.
“Life is mostly about Perspective and Perception, Girls.  For instance, in every walk of Life there are hungry Predators and Loving Helpers,”  Mama continued.
“Predators see the Killdeer’s broken wing behaviors as a moment of vulnerability that they can take advantage of in order to attack and gobble down a quick meal,”  Mama said.
“Loving Helpers, like you Girls, see the Killdeer’s broken wing behaviors as a Call to Help and Protect the injured,”  Mama said proudly.
“The Mother Killdeer just saw the Two of you as strange, giant Beings heading straight toward her Babies.  So, she did what any self respecting Killdeer would do to Protect her Young.  She didn’t understand that you were filled with Good Intentions.  Her experiences with Humans has probably taught her, and her kind, to view you as an Enemy.  And so she sought to draw you away from her Nest, and her Young, when you got too close for comfort,”  Mama further explained.
“I forgive her, Mama,”  Betsy declared.  “She was just being a Good Mama.”
“Me, too, Mama,”  Jenny chimed in.
Then Mama watched with amusement as her Two Precious Daughters began to run around the field crying out in mock alarm, and pretending as if they were Birds with broken wings, along side the agitated Mother Killdeer‘s antics.
“See, Mama. We’re Good Protectors,”  Betsy said breathlessly.
“Me, too, Mama !  Me, too !”  Jenny shouted out with glee.
“Yes, Babies, I See,”  Mama answered warmly.


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A Young Boy/Man's Rage, and A Knife He Wanted to Be a Gun
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