CSA Newsletter 5/8 – A Nest in the Arugula
Happy May, everyone! Here’s a story from the field.
Last Friday, we were out harvesting some radishes. Now, this is a pretty enjoyable, pretty typical group activity to do around here. You look for the big ones and bunch them together, and someone runs them to the edge of the field to spray them off every dozen bunches or so. You get into a rhythm, finish your section, and then “leap-frog” to get around the person working in front of you in the bed. Every once in a while, you rub the dirt off a particularly round one and test it for quality. Mild grit, maximum crunch, perfect spiciness.
So, here we were, picking the first ruby red radishes of the year, when we hear some birds. Bird listening is also a pretty enjoyable, pretty typical activity around the farm. It often happens without our planning or intent, or even awareness. But these birds were loud and close!
“Hey, look at me!” they said (translated from Bird).
“You are killdeers,” said Naomi.
“Wow, killdeers! You’re birds!” I said to the two birds, who were now doing some weird stuff. They were frantically walking towards and away from us, talking at us shrilly. They flopped on the ground and exposed their brownish bellies.
“They want us to eat them,” said Naomi. “There must be a nest around here.” Naomi has also dealt with killdeers while farming, over in Montana. (This led to the debate of whether or not they are actually shore birds… turns out, they migrate, and there are allegedly some lakes in Montana, too.)
And sure enough, after playing a weird version of hot-or-cold with the two concerned birds, we located a little cluster of speckled eggs in the arugula bed next door. They reminded me of nests of Gambel’s quail that you would come across in the southern Arizona desert (where I’m from), except that these were a little bit bigger.
They are beautiful! And now every time we go to harvest radishes, they try their best to get us to eat them instead of their four unhatched babies, and we stress out trying to speak Bird and tell them that we really don’t want to eat their babies (while also picking similar sized round things out of the ground, and sometimes eating them… It’s not very reassuring for them). But we will do our best to give them space and let them make their little family here because we love birds!