Avian academy award due

Mother Killdeer on nest

Rarely do I feature the same picture on Weekly Grist that I feature on Corndancer dot-com. Here’s why for this occasion: This picture sets the stage for Mom and Pop Killdeer as they go into their wounded bird routine. The next picture after this one was immediately after she popped off the nest and started the drama.

rain soaked killdeer

Click on Momma Killdeer to see more Killdeer pictures and a story.

Immediately after I shot the picture above, Ms. Killdeer exited the nest premises in a public flowerbed near a sidewalk and driveway, and went into her “wounded bird, broken wing, come get me if you can routine.” A lot of birds do the same, but I’m told that Killdeer have just about perfected the perfidy.

Like this one, many Killdeer nests are on the ground, so these thespian skills are a necessary instinct for survival. Speaking of instincts, see Momma Killdeer on her nest under extreme circumstances on the Photo of the Week page on Corndancer dot-com where this story started. We’ll wait here while you peruse the images and soak up the story.

Sometimes we tell stories with words and sometime with pictures. This time the pictures tell the tale as the two Killdeer put on a show to protect their unhatched offspring.

Killdeer doing wounded wing act

Ms. Killdeer was probably not much more than four feet away when she started to direct my attention away from her nest.

Killdeer watching

She immediately started to turn and see if I was following

Killdeer in wounded routine on sidewalk

“OK, now do I have your attention,” she says after making eye contact.

Killdeer on sidewalk

Apparently she wanted me to chase her. When I didn’t, she went to plan “B.”

Killdeer eggs in ground nest

While she was cogitating, I swung around and got a shot of the eggs. “Hi kiddies, look at the birdie” (heh-heh)

Killdeer in grass

In the seconds my attention turned to the eggs, Sistah Killdeer moved to a grassy area near her flowerbed nest and checks me out to make sure I noticed.

Killdeer on his back

Meanwhile, about 15 yards or so away. Daddy Killdeer joined the circus, wallowing around on his back. Great fakery.

Killdeer doing broken wing act

Not to be outdone, Mom cranks up her act again.

Killdeer doing wounded act

She checks me out to make sure I’m paying attention (Boy am I!)

KIlldeer crawling

OK, you are not chasing me. I’m gonna change directions fool!

Killdeer crawling to flower bed

OK that’s not working, how ’bout if you chase me into this flower bed?

Killdeer faking broken wing

OK look at my wing now Clyde, it is really, actually broken. Come get me!

Male Killdeer drawing attention away from the nest.

Meanwhile, Pop is getting back into the act a few yards away.

Killdeer giving nasty stare

#@!*%!! Enough is enough! Would you PUH_LEEZE leave, split, vamoose and/or disappear?

I grabbed these images late in the afternoon. I returned an hour or so later and Mrs. Killdeer was back on the job. Some time in the last week or so, the hatch occurred and the nest is empty. A bird enthusiast told me that baby Killdeer pretty well hit the deck running. Which, I suppose is why there are still plenty of Killdeer around for us to enjoy. I wish I had been there for the blessed event, but am happy that I was able to see and record what I did. All of which continues to remind us that it is always better to be lucky than good any day of the week.

Joe Dempsey

Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind.


3 Responses

  1. You take beautiful pictures. Thanks for posting.

  2. […] ‘em enough that they could have gone through their entire litany of charades, but I doubt it. Click here to see our original July 2013 post where you’ll see a good collection of their thespian deeds. Be sure to see some up close and […]

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