Nesting Killdeer, May 20, 2000

Photography by J. F. Grover

 

Killdeer on its nest
Two eggs were laid before we realized what was happening.  The hen laid the third egg on May 13, and the fourth and final egg the next day.

 

nest
The parent killdeer start sitting on the eggs to incubate them as soon as all the eggs have been laid.  The killdeer embryos inside the first-laid three eggs do not start developing while the eggs are sitting out in the cold.  But when they feel the warmth of the parent killdeer, all four killdeer embryos start developing at the same time.

 

Broken-wing act
When someone comes too close to the nest, the killdeer goes into its "broken wing" act, drawing attention to it and away from the eggs or the chicks.

 

killdeer on a drizzly day
The normal gestation period is 24 to 28 days, so we're expecting to see the chicks around June 7-10.  We're hoping all four chicks survive, but we must let nature take its course.  We will keep the cats away, though.

Killdeer and chicks - June 8, 2000


You can learn more about killdeer at these sites:  Environment Canada and Birdwatching.com 

Digital photography:  Many thanks to Jack F. Grover and his marvelous Sony Mavica; both courtesy of Visual Sound
 
Also see Jack's photos of his pride-and-joy collies at Keystone Collie Club.



 
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