Killdeer / Altruism

Killdeer - Altruism

The Killdeer is a medium sized Plover with a distinctive double breast band an ornage-red eye ring. It nests in Northern United States and Canada and its range extends to Northern South America. Although considered to be shorebirds, they are often found far from water. They mainly feed on insects. They get their name from their "KILL-DEE" call.

When they feel that their nests are compromised, Killdeer will perform a "broken-wing act" to protect their young. They will attract predators to themselves by appearing injured and vocalizing distress. They will repeatedly leap away until they are a safe distance from their nests. Once safe, they will "heal" and fly away. Putting a kin's well-being ahead of your own is distinctly more sophisticated than simply deterring away or hiding from a predator (Aposematism and Crypsis).

Altruism is a word coined by the French Philosopher Auguste Comte to denote selfless concern for the welfare of others. Traditionally considered as a "human virtue", Altruism is also a well documented animal behavior. For those that are scientifically inclined, Biological Altruism is a widely researched and controversial subject in Evolutionary Biology and Game Theory.

Again, we are not all that much different than animals. Altruism and selfishness simultaneously exist in animals just as they do in humans.

Altruism is not a virtue! It may be virtuous only if there is Wisdom behind it. Human Wisdom is not absolute, nor is it quantifiable. Wisdom is the optimal application of perception and knowledge to (consistently) produce (universally) optimum results. For the Wise, Altruism might or might not be optimal for a given situation. Altruism as a "way of life" implies delusion or psychosis - just as much as egoism as a "philosophy of life" does.
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