Monday, May 4, 2009

Killdeer!

I went on a couple of birding hikes this past weekend and have some stories and pictures for you, but I'm still trying to get those organized. Our weatherman is predicting rain for the next couple of days, so hopefully I can get caught up on my blogging activities soon. But for now, I have this quick post and pictures to share.

It was a nice warm afternoon, so I walked over to visit my neighbor Matt and see how his big garden is coming along. Matt and his wife have 5 kids and raise almost all of their own produce and I'm amazed with his huge and well-organized garden. They're also going to be acquiring some chickens soon and I'm looking forward to buying fresh eggs from them.

I also found out last week that one of their little boys (Shawn) is an avid birder. That was exciting news for me and I gave Shawn one of my rarely used field guides and the Stokes Guide to Bluebirds that has been sitting unused on my bookshelf for several years. He was pretty thrilled and so was I knowing that I can help get this guy turned on to birds and birding at the young and impressionable age of 9!

While I was over there, Matt told me that they had recently found a killdeer nest in their backyard......would I like to see it? I could hardly contain my excitement and asked if he would mind if I ran back home for my camera to come and take a couple pictures. Here's the nest containing 4 eggs.
Their lot is 5 acres just like mine, but they only have a fraction of the number of trees in the backyard that we do, so the open habitat is perfect for killdeer. The nest was made in the wood chip mulch covering a little landscaped flower garden in the middle of their backyard. Aren't those eggs just the cutest thing?

As I knelt down at the edge of the landscaped area to photograph the nest, the parent killdeer got really agitated and came rushing across the lawn to perform the "injured bird" display. I stayed only long enough to snap these couple of photos.
If you click on this picture to enlarge it, you can see that his/her beak is open (scolding me!)


After about 20 seconds, Shawn and I hurried away from this nest to avoid stressing this poor bird any more. I was glad for the opportunity to take these pictures and to share the experience with Shawn too.

BTW, these pictures were all taken with my new little Canon PowerShot A1000, and I'm pretty happy with the results.



19 comments:

Kelly said...

...very cool post! Love the eggs in the nest, and it's really neat you got to witness the injured bird display! She really does look like she has a broken wing too...
It's great you're encouraging a young birder.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

We saw our first Killdeer chicks while out birding this weekend. They are such cute little things.

Richard said...

Great pictures and I'm sure we'll get to see little ones when the time comes.

Kelly said...

...I forgot to mention I like your new banner art!

Kallen305 said...

Very cool pics Ruthie. I have never seen Kildeer doing that before so it was a treat to see.

Jayne said...

That's the first time I've seen Killdeer eggs! They just simply plop them down and incubate... amazing. Glad you found a new young birder to mentor Ruthie!

Cindie U. said...

The killdeer is Ed's favorite bird. He has actually farmed around them. And if you don't know about farmers, they are mighty particular with how straight their rows are!

NCmountainwoman said...

Great photographs of the injured bird display. I've seen it, but never had a camera ready.

Mama Pea said...

Cool . . . the killdeer eggs are really quite beautiful! How big were the eggs?

Larry said...

I wouldn't be able to resist taking those shots either-very cool.It's nice to know that their are youg birders out there.

Ruth said...

I hope you get to see the baby birds. I think baby Killdeer are the cutest creatures! I found a nest once but when I returned a day later it was completely gone and so were the eggs.

Julie said...

Lovely pictures. We have many killdeer in our area, but I've never found a nest. I love to see them.
Next time, if you can, slip a few pictures of their garden, I'd love to see it. Does their family blog? I hope young Matt continues with his bird interest.

Mary C said...

That killdeer nest is so cool! I've never seen their nests before, but I have seen one of the parents do the broken wing act. And then shortly after that I saw one of the chicks. It was so cute - a miniature sized adult running back and forth down a sidewalk. That is so cool, too, that you have a young birder as one of your neighbors.

Marsha said...

How very wonderful that you are going to be a birding mentor for the little neighbor boy.

I haven't seen a killdeer nest for awhile but we used to get them in the gravel - the eggs would just disappear in the stones. This time of year, I am so busy outside and with work so I apologize for my lack of comments. I have been stopping by for quick reads though.

Tommy said...

Good work with your young neighbo'u'r!

I'd love to see this 'injured bird' display in person. Your lovely pics with the new camera are the next best thing though ;)

Heather said...

Wow, what a great experience. The eggs are so beautifully camouflaged! That's great to hear that your neighbor's son is into birding at such a young age!

Red said...

Very cool! That is really neat your neighbor's son shares a major interest of yours. You'll be friends for life :)

Boy, it pays to watch where you walk, I might have missed that nest!

Aleta said...

How wonderful that you had the opportunity to see a killdeer's nest! And to see the mom doing her injured bird routine! I always wonder how any of the killdeer babies survive, with their nesting habit - right on the ground, vulnerable to raccoons, cats, etc. Great post! Thanks for sharing!

RuthieJ said...

Thanks everyone for sharing in the killdeer adventures. I doubt I will see the babies once they hatch--they're up and out of the nest shortly after hatching.
Mama Pea - the eggs are about the size of a regular marshmallow (a little bigger than I expected them to be!)