The plover drover and the good Samaritan

Traveling a lonely country road, I noticed what looked to be small pieces of concrete skittering around in the road. Hoping I wasn’t suffering from heat stroke, I stopped to check it out.

Much to my amusement and delight, there were four little plovers, or baby killdeers, very confused and hopping about in the middle of the hot concrete slab. Nature’s camouflage was at its best, as the baby birds were difficult to see from just a few feet away. Nearby in the ditch, Momma plover was doing her best broken wing imitation in hopes of diverting my attention.

Walking up to the milling congregation of miniature plovers, looking like marshmallows on toothpick legs, I began to try to drive them to the safety of an old lane next to the county road.

Driving baby plovers sounds like an easy task, but one renegade fledgling was determined to thwart my attempts and repeatedly darted to the side away from his siblings.

Using a flowing stance of a combination traffic cop, ballerina dancer and sumo wrestler, I hopped back and forth with my legs spread wide, in crude semi-circles, waving my arms from side-to-side while occasionally muttering directions to the baby birds. For effect, I dropped my arms low to the ground in a swooping motion and found with each swoop, the little birds would move 8 or 10 inches closer to safety.

After several minutes of performing my plover drover routine, I was able to get the tiny birds out of the road and into the safe haven of the old lane. Thrilled at my successful effort, I gave myself half of a “high five” and dropped low to the ground with the universal umpire sign indicating “SAFE!”

Turning around, I was surprised to see another car, driven by an elderly gentleman wearing rather thick glasses, parked behind my van. He was watching me very intently and had a somewhat horrified look on his face.

Embarrassed at my antics, I said, “Just getting them off the road.”

When the old gentleman replied, “Getting what off the road?” I realized he had not seen the baby birds.

He carefully cracked his car door, stuck his head out and said, “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine. …. just getting the plovers off the road.”

“Gettin’ the clovers off the road?”

At this point, I realized the elderly good Samaritan was somewhat hard-of-hearing as well as visually impaired. Speaking several volumes higher, I said, “No. I was getting the baby plovers off the road. Their mother is here in the ditch. “

“Whose mother’s in the ditch?”

“The baby plovers’ mother. I was trying to get the little plovers out of the road. You know, little birds… little birds… little birds… killdeer!”

“Little birds kill deer?”

By then, I was having a hard time standing as laughter shook my body in what must have appeared to be some sort of a seizure.

Finally, I blurted out, “I’m okay. Thanks for stopping. I’m going to my van now.”

At this, the old gentleman dropped his car in gear and left at what could best be described as a very high rate of speed.

Seeing the baby plovers made it a special day. As for my encounter with the good Samaritan, I’ll remember it for the rest of my life. Probably the old gent will too.

I wonder what the old guy told his wife. Something like, “I rounded the corner and there he was! Some kind of drug-crazed dancer hopping all over the asphalt! It was plumb scary! Here it’s almost 100 degrees out and he’s a hollering about somebody’s mother in the ditch and getting the clovers off the road! When he said, ‘Little birds kill deer’ and started for his van, I got the heck out of there!”