Saturday, March 24, 2012

Still she stays

Killdeer are funny little birds.  Sandpipers that they are, they scamper along on skinny little legs, and bounce up and down when not running.

They build pitiful nests, choosing a depression in the sand or rocks of the driveway, where four eggs are laid.

They're wonderful actors.  When the nest is threatened, they run in different directions, perpendicular to the nest.  Then they perform a death scene worthy of the hammiest actor:  leaning to one side, flapping one wing as if the other were injured, they attempt to draw the predator away from the nest.  Always, they try to lure the danger away from the nest, leaving the eggs unattended.

Once the chicks hatch, they look exactly like miniature versions of the adults--no juvenile coloring.  By the next day, they're on their own.

They've decided my driveway is the perfect nesting place.  Usually we have one nest (one year right in the middle of the driveway!), but I really believe we have two this year.

But one is different.

As I said, usually killdeer will try to lure predators away from the nest.  But this little mother will not.  Every time I pass by, she is sitting her nest and does not budge from it.  She does have a mate, but, to be honest, he'll never win an Oscar.  His heart's not in his role.

She seems to have enough heart and courage for them both.  I've walked within four feet of the nest, and she hasn't stirred.  Today is stormy, torrential rain with lightning popping all around.  I brave the weather, because I have to know:  is she there?

Still she stays, protecting her progeny.

Still she stays, playing her role with conviction.

Still she stays, until her job is done.

Still she stays, with enough courage for them all.

Still she stays.


  1. I've seen these funny birds before (love their "death scenes"), but I never knew what they were. Great post!

    1. Thank you, Kristen! They're so much fun to watch!

  2. As a child on the farm, killdeer were always nesting along the roadside. I loved them. They don't care at all for the city, so never see them here. Thanks for the reminder notes about their sweetness. Lovely blog.

    1. Thank you so much! They're among the first harbingers of spring around here!


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