Monday, March 9, 2009

A Treasure from Mother Nature

Mother Nature has brought a wonderful treasure to my grandchildren and I. A species of bird that I was not aware of has made her nest of sorts in our dry river of landscape rocks in our front yard. What an educational gift this has been for our family. 

As soon as I learned what kind of bird they were I emailed a link that told all about the birds to my children to share with my grandchildren so that they could learn all about the birds. I then invited  all of the children to come and see the wonderful treasure that Mother Nature is sharing with us.

The birds (mother and father) are called Killdeer. They lay their eggs on the ground usually in rock or gravel. They do not build a nest so that the eggs will blend into the surroundings to keep them safe. The eggs are speckled and they do in fact blend in very well. The parents take turns sitting on the nest and they are very vocal and protective if you approach their eggs.

When you approach the nest you are first warned with aggressive chirping. When you get too close they get up and run away from their nest and pretend to have a broken wing hoping to distract you with their injury. Both parents will get into the act to lead you far away from the eggs. Once they feel you are a safe distance away the wing miraculously heals and they fly off and circle around to return to the eggs.

There is a lot of information on the web on this species of bird. It is amazing to see how text book their behavior is. As an added bonus, the baby birds will hatch with their running shoes on. As soon as they break out of their shell and their feathers dry they become self feeders and run around following their mother like baby chicks do. In my reading it said that they will stay in the area for at least two weeks until they learn to fly!

It will take 24-28 days for them to hatch. We don't know for sure how long the eggs have been there but suspect about 10 days or so. We'll be watching and waiting. The grandchildren and I can hardly wait to see the fuzzy  little guys!


  1. That is really neat. Why don't they build their nests in trees like other species?

  2. I forget the term for it but they are the same kind of chick as a chicken, quail, and duck. When they hatch they are self feeders and can walk but not fly. So, I guess if they were in a tree they would be in trouble since the parents don't feed them and they wouldn't be able to fly to leave the tree.

    Isn't nature amazing that they know to lay the eggs on the ground? I just can't get over the broken wing trick they use. They put on a very sad show. The longer it takes you to move away from their eggs the worse their broken wing condition gets!

  3. I grew up on a farm in Idaho and we had several of these birds around. I remember many times I fell for the wounded bird trick, only to have it fly away just when I thought I could catch it. Fun memory for me. Thanks for posting it.

    I would tell you how I stumbled on your blog, but I don't remember. You certainly have fun ideas.