Saturday, April 20, 2013

Crazy Bird

Any of you who have been following along on our blog for very long, know that our family really enjoys birdwatching.  It all started with Adam when his 2nd grade teacher wove learning about birds into every subject at school.  His knowledge and excitement about birds sparked our interest and now  birdwatching is one of our  family's favorite things to do.

We have feeders on our deck that we love to keep an eye on and consider a relaxing birdwatching walk through the woods to be one of the best ways to spend a lazy afternoon.

So Cami came home from an away lacrosse game the other day, telling us a funny bird story.  She told how her team had gone to a backfield and immediately upon setting their lacrosse sticks down to do some warm-ups, came across a very pissed off bird.  She told us about how loud and aggressive the bird seemed and she couldn't figure out why it just wouldn't fly away from them like most birds, so she assumed that it was injured.  Later when they went to pick up their sticks, they realized that they had unknowingly laid them right next to the bird's nest which was on the ground, which was why the bird was freaking out so much.   In the meantime, some of her teammates were getting kind of spooked by the loud dramatics and eager to get away from the "crazy bird".

In the midst of retelling the story, she kept mentioning what a pretty bird it had been and she wondered what kind it was.  A short search online and she learned that it was a killdeer.   Killdeer are known for their loud histronics and  "fake broken wing act" to protect their nests.    After reading that, we were all fascinated and plotted for a way to go see the birds in action ourselves.

Serendipitously a couple of days later when I was taking Emma to her All-County Chorus Concert (look for a blogpost about it soon), I realized that the place that Cami had seen the Killdeer was right on the way to her concert.   So we stopped to take a look for ourselves.....

Just as Cami had described, immediately upon approaching their lair, this bird started going bonkers.  It flailed around on the ground, with its wings bent in funny directions, all the while making unearthly loud noises.

 Too bad for him, we ignored his tricks and went straight for the nest, so I could get pictures of the calm bird who was guarding it...

We kept a far enough distance to not actually disturb anything, but I was thrilled to get a quick peek at the nest and see that one of the eggs was hatching.

Because their act looked a bit exhausting, we were careful not to stay too long, but I couldn't resist snapping as many photos as I could in the meantime.

We were interested to learn that Killdeer are a type of plover and are considered shorebirds.  However they don't usually live near water and are known to build their nests in the ground of golf courses, athletic fields, and flat roofs.  

Now my kids are begging me to go back as soon as possible, so that they can see the babies.   Normally I would scoff at a request to drive that far (12+ miles) for such a small thing, but who can resist a baby?  Even if it is the baby of a slightly crazy bird.

I think we'll go tomorrow morning.



Twinkies said...
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Twinkies said...

My parents had a problem with those birds when they lived in WA. They kept building their nests in the middle of my parents gravel driveway. Makes it a little hard to drive out of your garage to go anywhere.

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