Saturday, April 13, 2013

Look Closely

The killdeer are back at Farm Dover. We've been seeing and hearing them for the last month or so. They are pretty "shore" birds that run along the drive in spurts, stopping every few feet to look around and see if they have startled up any insect prey. The little bird is named onomatopoeically as it cries "kill-deer" in a loud voice as it circles overhead.

photo from www.allabout
We've been watching to see where they appear from to see if we can find their nest and mark it so that we don't step on it in the field. Ed was out this morning dandelion hunting when he found the nest, right on the side of our gravel driveway! He has placed 5-gallon buckets on the drive to remind us (and our visitors) to circle around so as to not disturb the nest.

Eggs in our driveway!
The mama bird has been sitting on the nest all day, but when I walked out there just a minute ago to take her photo, she very quietly got up and walked away. Even when I clearly saw where she was sitting, it was hard to pick out the nest. It is right on the gravel, with only a few twigs around it.

Usually, when one gets close to the nest, the mama or papa bird will hold its wing in a position that looks like it is injured. Then it flaps around on the ground emitting a distress call as it moves away from the nest. The predator then thinks it has an easy prey and heads toward the injured bird and away from the nest. Once the predator is led far from the nest, the killdeer suddenly "heals" and flies away.

Photo from

Pretty clever, I think. The things a parent will do to protect its young. The eggs should hatch in 24-28 days. Can't wait to see a bunch of baby killdeer following their parents around.

photo from


  1. How exciting! Is it usual for the nest to be on the ground? Would think it would make it so easy for predators to attack the nest or the new born babies. Needless to say I won't be bringing the pups out for a walk until they have taken flight!

    1. We have lots of ground nesters around here. Turkeys, Thrashers and Canada Geese are ones we have recently found. So, we are always looking down as we walk the fields!