Murderers On The TV

Binging true crime “murder shows” on NetFlix(TM) can be an infuriating pastime for rational people. And I’m not even talking about the heartbreaking tragedies or unspeakable violence. Instead, I’m talking about the unbelievable stupidity the perpetrators often show after the crime, ultimately leading to their arrest.

On more than one occasion, I’ve lept up from my chair to yell at the murderers on TV. Things like, “WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU HAVE USED THE VICTIM’S TOOTHBRUSH?? EVERYONE KNOWS YOU’D LEAVE DNA ALL OVER THE PLACE!”

I’m not sympathetic to the murderer. I’m just flabbergasted by the stupidity.

But, as any good FBI profiler would tell you, that’s why I’m not a murderer. Those same qualities that would make us smart enough not to get caught also make us smart enough not to murder anyone. So we’re comparing what a murderer should do to what we would do. But there is no comparison. Because we don’t murder. Or at least I hope we don’t.

Though I did recently murder the opening of the 2023 season of Plover Park by gleefully announcing that the first Oystercatcher eggs had been laid and then, not even 24 hours later, sadly reporting they had already been lost. But as mentioned, the season’s success will ultimately be a numbers game, and I was confident the pair would keep trying.

And they did. Just a few days later, they laid another 2 egg nest. The next day, our other local pair, banded J22 and J23, laid their own 3 egg nest. Everything looked great for a few days until both nests suddenly vanished on the same night.

So if you’re keeping score, that’s 2 nests laid, 6 eggs total, all lost. Barnegat Light’s Oystercatchers, zero. And something, six.

As with the first loss, there was no evidence left behind. Instead, the Oystercatchers perfectly demonstrated their painfully unhelpful habit of trampling the nest bowl and surrounding area in a panic, erasing anything that might have given clues as to what they are up against this season.

But in a strange coincidence, I was curious about the distance between the lost nests, so I returned to the site of the first loss. 

NestStory is incredibly useful, as it records nest locations within just a few inches, right on your phone. This makes it easy to return to the exact square foot of earth where the nest was, even years after it is gone. I imagine one day taking my grandkids to this same spot and boring them to tears by telling them about this post, then launching into a grumpy tirade about murderers on the TV.

Even though all traces of the original nest were gone, I was surprised to find a fresh, perfectly formed fox footprint in the exact spot the nest had been. What are the odds that a random fox would hit precisely this spot while crisscrossing the habitat? I’d wager about the same odds that a murderer wouldn’t do something foolish after the crime, leading to his or her own arrest!

This gave me the idea to quickly plant a hidden camera at the site of J22 & J23’s more recently lost nest. 

And sho’nuff. Here is the video:

Not only does our adorable little friend visit the lost nest for one last sniff, but it makes a beeline out of the darkness right to it. 

A fox picking off two discreet nests on the same night is worrisome for the Oystercatchers. So I fear they are going to have a difficult season. 

Maybe we should encourage them to stop thinking like Oystercatchers and instead get themselves inside the mind of a fox. They need a FOX Profiler. They have to start thinking like someone or something who eats eggs. Because Oystercatchers don’t eat eggs. Or at least I hope they don’t.

It’s frustrating. I wish I could sit in the Park all night, occasionally standing up to yell at a fox, instead of sitting on my couch and yelling at murderers on the TV.


  1. I remember Michelle had a cam on a PIPL nest that was depredated by fox and it returned after to not only sniff the area, but to mark it. I mean, really!! What a punk! This gives me an idea though, I’ll tell you about it in person.


    1. Yes, I would not have been surprised if it marked the spot. Can’t wait to hear an idea. This oughta be good!


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