A sad story

My neighbor and friend called me yesterday afternoon saying that she had an injured bird in her yard and could I come identify it.  I didn’t much feel like getting out of the house as we had already been gone a good portion of the day so I asked her to describe it.  I was thinking it was probably just some common yard bird like a bulbul  or a mannikin. She described it as having long legs like a plover and being brown above and white below with a red eye-ring.  I could not identify it by such a description so decided to go ahead to her place to have a look. 

I was quite surprised when I got there as it did look like a plover.  She and I live on the same street, and I had never seen a plover anywhere near either of our yards.  I looked through my field guide but couldn’t figure out which one it was as its head and breast markings were a bit different than all the plovers in the book.  I thought maybe a juvenile three banded.

Jonathan had come with me and started looking through the field guide when I gave up, and he had a little more patience, skill, and insight than I did and identified it as a Bronze-winged Courser.  I had never seen a courser before, so then I was pretty excited.  It didn’t really have the same shape as the coursers in the field guide which was what threw me off, (in the book they all have rather long necks, and this one never stretched out its neck) but it definitely has the right markings.

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The bottom picture shows the iridescent violet on the wings.  It used to be called the Violet-tipped Courser.  You usually can’t see the violet when you see the bird under normal circumstances so maybe that is why they changed the name.  Probably it was one of those birds that they named back in the days when they shot the birds and examined them close up.

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This third picture shows the bird in my friend’s flower bed where it settled down when given an option to do so. I like it because it shows how well camouflaged the bird would be if it sat still.   Most of the time we left it in a cage because my friend has a dog.  The reason the bird was injured was because the dog chased it and it flew into the wall.  I was hoping to find someone without a dog who could keep it in their yard until it could fly again.  It eats insects and I thought it would need to run free in the yard to feed itself. Unfortunately it must have been more damaged than we thought.  I am sad to have to report that it died overnight.  It was a sweet little thing.

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