posted: June 27th, 2012 | by:Bert
©Bert Gildart: Each evening I’ve been riding my road bike (just like in Anza Borrego — Biking Fanatic) along our country road near Bigfork, Montana. As well as providing just plain good exercise, the ride also keeps me in touch with many of the activities of members from our local avian populations.
Because it seems as though there are more Killdeer this year than what we’ve seen before I’ve become particularly interested in the species. But aside from abundance, Killdeer have a most interesting means of protecting their young, and that makes them particularly fascinating.
During the incubation period and then, later, meaning right now, adult Killdeer attempt to lure those that approach too close to their nest using their broken-wing act. The display indicates they have started building nests or may, in fact, have even laid their eggs. Because the eggs are mottled, they are difficult to see.
But Killdeer don’t know that. All they’re hoping is that their frantic displays will lure you away from what they value so highly. Instinct tells them that by faking injury, you and I will be attracted to them, and that we’ll follow wherever they lead, which is, of course, away from their nests.
As you’ll see from the picture, Killdeer eggs blend with the ground so they were difficult to find. But eventually I found them, and shortly thereafter I set up a blind so as not to disturb the adults. Almost immediately the nesting pair returned to the job of incubating.
Soon they’ll hatch and when they do nature has endowed them with the ability to almost immediately take care of themselves. Appropriately, Killdeer are classified as “precocial” and they epitomize the designation, for within days they are capable of flight. Typically, they’ll soon be gone, and I’ll miss their antics as I ride along our country road.
AIRSTREAM TRAVELS LAST YEAR: