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Sunday, June 8, 2008

CRITTERS

Y'all know we love capturing critters on camera. The Killdeers around here are nesting. These birds are so incredible. They are actually a shore bird (plover), but they come inland further and they like to nest on the ground, in gravel, and usually near people and pastures.

So, we have the "perfect" Killdeer nesting environment. These birds are pretty with white rings around their necks. The neat thing is that Mama and Daddy work as a team when preditors near their nest.

I've been following this one Mama each day when I walk the drive to check the mail. She'd always pop up out of literally no where. She'd "lead me" (I was going that way anyhow) down the drive toward the mailbox. Then, once I had distanced myself from the area of her nest she'd fly away and circle back to it.

I'd been looking for days. Around the area I'd first see her pop up and also "opposite" of the direction she kept chirping and trying to lead me.

Lookie what my son found!



I know what you're thinking, "A pile of gravel...whoop-de-doo..." But, take a closer gander....



[click to view the pics full size and full pixel] In the middle of this pile of gravel and asphalt is a nest made up of white and black rocks. More white than black. Wanna' know why? So the eggs will camouflage into the ground. There are four eggs, creamy white with black speckles all over as if someone drizzled them with tar.

Here's the Mama. Daddy was circling over head shrilling his cry to get our attention. Mama runs a few feet then falls to the ground and splays out her tail and wing(s) as if she is wounded. She also continues to "MEEEEP" loudly and continuously to be sure you can't ignore her. See? This way a predator will follow the Killdeer away from the next. Then, she simply flies off and sneakily swoops in from behind....unseen, and back atop her eggs.


Too cool, right?! We have another couple who live in the back. Haven't found that nest yet.

Killdeer Facts: They always lay four eggs. Even though the eggs are layed at different times the eggs all hatch together. Because they don't begin incubating until the Mama sits on them to hatch them. They are Precocial which means that they exit the egg able to run immediately. Eggs usually hatch in 24 to 28 days.

I'm guessing I've been following our little "Plover" for about a couple of weeks. So, within another two weeks we should have pictures of baby Killdeers. Maybe I can catch one and get a close up picture (they often freeze and fall to the ground to camouflage themselves and then you can pick them up).

You know I have to throw in a couple of these when I capture them:

Sunrise the other morning....



Sunset last night....absolutely gorgeous. (I took these yesterday evening about 8:pm while we sat watching Mama Killdeer on her nest).

Happy Sunday!
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4 comments:

Jay said...

Wow ... those eggs are really camouflaged nicely! I don't know if I've ever seen a killdeer. Of course, I probably wouldn't know one if I did see it. Can't wait to see the babies though.

gr said...

wow, just beautiful

Tink said...

That is so cool! We could never have those birds near us. Our dogs would destroy their nest. So it's nice to be able to live vicariously through you. Keep us updated on the babies!

kcinnova said...

Late in seeing this...how cool is that?!? I didn't know they nested in gravel!

We've got a mockingbird nest in the overgrown evergreen shrub/tree at the end of the driveway. I'm sure the roadwork out front is driving them crazy! I saw two downyy babies with beaks open in the nest a few nights ago. But I don't want to disturb them much, and a camera would probably do that.

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