Maya's Story: Chapter 4

Chapter 4: Shorebirds Special Gifts

Earlier this afternoon I watched Maria fly over to Jorge. I could hear her chirping to him quietly. She wants to be sure he understands that not all adaptations are physical. I heard her suggest that, in fact, shorebirds also possess behavioral adaptations. She explained, for example, that these adaptations include migrating and defense mechanisms (such as dragging a wing to distract a predator from a nest of eggs). It's incredible what she has learned in less than a year.

She gives Jorge another example of a behavioral adaptation. For instance, when we migrate, we fly at high altitudes to take advantage of the stronger more prevailing winds than can be found at lower altitudes (and the air is not so hot!). I could see the expression on Jorge's face. He was feeling a little embarrassed that he had overlooked this point. He responded with a quick retort: "Well, we might as well fly incredibly high since we shorebirds can't set down in the ocean to rest--because as you know, we can't swim!--at least for very long."