Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Killdeer family update

Now that summer is in full swing I've been busy with my usual gardening, but I still find time to keep track of some of the nesting birds in my area. As you may recall at the end of June I was monitoring a killdeer nest in a hot parking lot. My concerns for her grew as the temperatures in our valley continued to climb every day to between 100 to 107 degrees. A parking lot full of rocks had to be much hotter. I checked every morning to see if she survived the heat from the day before wondering if she would abandon the nest or tough it out. She stuck it out.
 On June 27th I was lucky enough to observe the first of her chicks to hatch. At 10:40 a.m. it was already 90 degrees in the parking lot, but tucked under the shade Mama was providing was a single chick. It was a few hours old and all downy and dry. Killdeer chicks are ready to go as soon as their feathers dry so when the rest of the brood hatched I was hopeful they'd all head for the shade.
 The next morning I found the little family across the street in a shady yard. The chicks were scampering about when I arrived, but quickly headed for Mama and tried to hide under her. Their tiny heads were all that fit, but in their minds they were hidden. Feet and tails stuck out everywhere making a comical sight.
I'll tell you what. There's not much cuter than a newborn killdeer chick!

Hope you all are enjoying your summer! Between gardening and bird watching I know I am enjoying mine!