New Family on the Homestead

For the past week or so I have noticed the couple in the area of our driveway and front yard. I figured the were up to something so whenever I headed up the driveway on the gator I kept an eye on the ground. Yesterday my suspicions were confirmed. At first there was only one, today there are two. They may stop here or it could finally be as many as four.

Can you find the future offspring in the picture?

They are located in the center of the picture. What you are looking for is a killdeer nest with two eggs. Once you spot them they seem quite obvious.

Here is a close up of the nest and the two eggs.

The birds don’t spend a lot of time and energy making a nest. They create a very shallow depression so the eggs do not roll away and they are ready to begin a family. The eggs are quite large in proportion to the size of the bird. The parents take turns covering the eggs and are very alert to any approaching danger. When a predator approaches the bird sitting on the nest will jump up and run a short distance giving a distress call and go into the “broken wing act” to lure the danger from the nest. They will drag a wing as if it is broken, flutter with the other as though attempting to fly all the while making this shrill killdeer sound. Once they have lured the danger a safe distance from the nest the bird will heal itself and fly away.

The eggs will all hatch within a few minutes of each other. Once the chick is out of the shell it will take another few minutes for them to dry and then they leave the nest following their parents. The parents do not feed them, they must forage on their own. Insects are their primary food. The chicks remain close to their parents and if danger approaches the parents will give the danger signal at which time the chicks will squat and stay perfectly still. The eggs in the nest are hard to spot but the chicks are even harder to see. When the danger is past the parents give the all clear and they continue to feed.

Here is a picture of a killdeer on a nest (not the nest above). They are migratory birds and some fly as far south as South America for the winter.
Killdeer on Nest