Rulers Make Bad Lovers

“I’m a lover. Because loneliness is like a heartbeat. It drives you mad in the stillness of the memory of what you had. And what you lost. And what you had. And what you lost. And what you ha-ad. And what you lost.

“OK, so here’s what’s going to happen,” ordered Emily. “Everyone will suggest one name, and then Northside Jim will choose.”

For a brief moment, I felt like a King. Finally, after a decade of naming the banded birds of Barnegat Light, I was getting a promotion. No more urgently harassing my family for name ideas the night before a banding, desperate to thwart other suggestions that might be too dull or, worse, too earnest. Instead, I was now the CNO (Chief Naming Officer) of Plover Park. 

I was just deciding whether to make everyone call me “Chief” of “Sir Northside Jim” when it suddenly dawned on me that this wasn’t a promotion at all. This was a setup. I wasn’t the new CNO. I was the scapegoat.

Obviously, Emily wasn’t going to pick one of her team’s suggestions over another. Unfortunately, people get very attached to their suggestions. A diss like that could spark a tiny ember that could grow into a wildfire of bitterness. So, the great leader that she is, Emily figured out how to leave her & her team unscathed and let Northside Jim burn instead. She tossed that flaming hot potato right to me. Well played.

But there’s more to this story because I knew a little secret. Emily had recently confessed to binge-watching Daisy Jones and the Six and how it had evolved into a modest obsession with Fleetwood Mac. And so her dream(s) was to name this new pair “Lindsey Buckingham” and “Stevie Nicks.” What was she going to do? Have everyone throw a suggestion out and then just choose her own?

Lindsey Buckingham poses for his official NestStory band photo. As an elite ambassador for the species, this photo will go straight to his band history where every nest, every mate, every chick, and every sighting of this bird will be recorded in one place, and forever. I swear it looks like he is smiling for the photo.

Fortunately, I’m no first-year, unbanded bird either. So even though this bird will forever remind me of long road trips with the family listening to Rumours on eight-track or breaking up with my college sweetheart and weeping with her as we drove home, discovering that it is, in fact, the most excellent breakup album ever recorded, of course, this bird will be forever known as Lindsey Buckingham.

Because I want to do everything I can to thank, reward, encourage, and support Emily & Kashi’s commitment to continuing the grand tradition of banding the extraordinary birds of Plover Park. The success of the project is self-evident and speaks for itself.

I call this one “Geez mom, it’s not like I bit someone.” Emily is wiping a little poop off of Lindsey here, but in the photo it really looks like she’s scolding him. “Now you promise to be a good little lover and not a ruler like Giantsbane, OK?”

And it sure beat my suggestion. I wanted to name the pair “Tommy Lee” and “Pamela.” You know. Because they did the sex on camera!

Other suggestions included Aragorn for LOTR and Kaz from Six of Crows. While promising, they were too stately and regal for this humble little beauty.

The human mind creates biases when considering things that don’t look like us. This leads us to falsely believe that all Piping Plovers look and act the same. While this is false, and each animal is as unique as we are, you can really see this during intimate encounters like banding.

Kashi & Emily calmly and expertly trap Lindsey for the banding. They look a little more like rulers than lovers in their matching NJFW uniforms.

Usually, when a trap is set, Kashi & Emily must hide and wait several minutes for the bird’s desperation to incubate to override its suspicion and nervousness about the trap. But Lindsey Buckingham stayed right next to the exclosure the whole time, and no sooner had they turned their backs to walk away did he return directly to his eggs. No hidey-hole required.

Lindsey Buckingham is a gem. He is a brave, no-nonsense family man who can read the room. While irritated, Lindsey Buckingham remained absolutely cool as a cucumber during the banding. He quickly realized that Emily wouldn’t hurt him and simply wanted to return to his eggs.

Caitlin gets the highest honor of all. Even higher than Ruler, Lover, or CNO. She releases a newly banded Lindsey Buckingham back to the wild. Yesterday’s gone. Yesterday’s gone.

I love this guy. He’s wise enough to know that thunder only happens when it’s raining. That players only love you when they’re playing. And he’s roguishly handsome to boot.

I’m glad Lindsey isn’t saddled with a kingly name, and I’m happy I didn’t actually get that big promotion. Because guys like Lindsey & I? We’re lovers.

And everyone knows that rulers make bad lovers. And we never want to put this kingdom up for sale!


  1. This one made me tear up — must be peak field season lol! Just truly appreciate your dedication to this place, its inhabitants, and your remarkable ability to tell their story in a way that is so accessible to people. Bravo, Chief!


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