Oldervik is a little fishing village, 40 minutes drive north-east of Tromsø. It is a dead-end, tucked away behind the Lyngen Alps.

Oldervik may not be the most spectacular place in the world (and there are no shops, no activities and no attractions) but it does have a great view and, the natives seem to have some pretty bizarre habits.

This bird is a Tjeld (an ‘oystercatcher’ in English) but they are not known for eating oysters. Instead, they use their long beaks for getting worms out of the rocks and opening mussels.

This particular little oystercatcher at Oldervik didn’t seem to be too wise to the ways of the world. Nursing its eggs in a box is quite normal, but in the middle of a car park? Not only that, every time I tried to get closer to take a picture of it, the bird would fly away squawking, leaving its eggs for the taking. So I would hide behind the cars to allow the bird space to come back to its box. I would sneak around the cars, crouching down (more like a duck than a tiger), to get a closer shot. But, sure enough, every time the bird would see me and fly away, leaving its eggs.

My friend was enjoying the show. After a while I sat beside him, bewildered at the bird’s carelessness. My friend told me the bird was protecting its eggs. I didn’t believe him–how could flying away be protecting the eggs? Being Aussie, I’m used to the blood-shed of magpie season.

“The bird wants you to follow. If you were a dog or a cat you would be motivated by the thought of having a nice little oystercatcher bird for supper. The bird would tease you, flying here and there, to keep your interest, all the while luring you away from its eggs.”

How clever! If I was a cat or a dog I would definitely fall for that. Although, come to think of it, the bird had me all along. When the bird was at the box I would come closer to the eggs, so the bird would fly away and I’d retreat again. (And who thinks they are the most intelligent creatures on earth?)

Sometimes there is a big difference between how animals and humans protect their precious things:

Hm. It might be smart hanging a dead oystercatcher to protect the drying fish from other birds but not all smart things are right.

I’m still not used to country life. What is normal for the country can seem barbaric to a city girl like me.

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