Monday, January 26, 2009

Killdeer Babies

For two Springs now, we have had Killdeer birds nest in our driveway. We have a gravel drive that leads up to our house and these little birds have found it to be a nice place to nest. That goes to figure as Killdeer like gravel to "nest" in.

The first year, we noticed the nest after the eggs were laid... it was good for them that they laid them in the middle of the road/driveway. Otherwise, surely the nest would have been run over. We just watched where we drove once we noticed.

The second year... we were keen to things a little more. I noticed a "nest" (no eggs) first- a little divot/scooped out place in our drive RIGHT IN THE WHEEL-TRACK... showed my other half... and we watched... everyday, usually upon getting the mail, I would look at the scooped out area in the rocks. In fact, I got tired of looking at it on such a daily basis... thought I was being a little pedantic when ALAS(!)... EGGS. Thankfully, I kept checking. So I knew what day these little eggs arrived.

Researched online and found the typical gestation for Killdeer eggs... it's a l-o-n-g time because, unlike many birds, these guys need to be ready to gitNgo when they hatch. None of this momma or daddy feeding you- they do it all themselves from the get-go. Hence, their long gestation time of 24-28 days.

This nest below was from the first year I noticed eggs in the middle of our driveway- somewhat grassy since it doesn't get trodden over constantly. That is my husband's finger pointing at them.
Let me tell you, those speckled eggs really camouflage when on rocks.

Last year, since the nest was in the wheel track of the driveway, we had to drive a bit off to the side for a month... until the eggs hatched and the birds were on their way. Since I knew when the eggs were laid, I knew when to start watching for babies. Can you see the nest below?

There were four eggs and they all hatched within 6-8 hours of one another. Below you can see 3 that have just hatched and one just starting. If you click the pic and enlarge it, you can see the egg cracked.

This one below is better for a close up click...

Once hatched, these little guys were quickly on their feet and ready to go. Amazing. This pic below was taken the same day they hatched. You can see momma ...? or daddy and some babies.

Interesting little birds, they are. They're always around -even in winter, making their 'kil-dee'~kil-dee' call. Am curious to see if I can manage to find where they nest this spring.

If you want more information on the Killdeer or to see more pics, click here:


Neas Nuttiness said...

Fasinating. I have never heard of these birds before. Their eggs really do look like little pebbles. I'm so glad that you posted about them. This can be my "something new I learn every day"!

Robynn's Ravings said...

Oh I enjoy Killdeers. But they always build their nests in tire ruts in the gravel. What's up with that? Once, when I was about 13, I tried to catch one. The mama acted like she had a broken wing (she spotted me for a sucker for anything injured or in need), and drew me off the baby I was after. Thanks for the memory and the beautiful pictures.

Tatersmama said...

Ahhh... I used to love watching the killdeers trying to distract us from their nests! Ours always nested up on what was supposed to be the future house pad, so they were never in any danger.
Lordy, but I miss the sound of them!

Helen Cato said...

Once the babies leave the nest, does the family return to it? We had 3 born yesterday and this morning. Just watched the last baby leave the nest with the mama. The other two were already gone with the daddy.