Killdeer Chicks

Over lunch break today, I and the other scribe at the clinic went for a walk over by Rapid Creek. We wound up back at Canyon Lake, near where I got pictures of the killdeer nest a few weeks ago. I had gone over there recently to check up on the nest, but there were enough slightly ruffled goose parents and their fluffy yellow chicks, I didn’t want to risk getting flown at. But today, once again I heard the killdeer before I saw it, and even then I could barely see it in the grass near the shore. The bird was almost in the throes its wounded bird imitation, so I knew that either there was another nest and we were close to it, or it had chicks.
KilldeerWe hunted around for a few minutes, and could see a second killdeer a little ways away. They called to each other, hunkered down in the grass, flew this way and that, and almost had me convinced to come back later. But then there was a little flurry of tiny movement, and not one, not two, but three baby killdeer were scampering around on the shore.
Killdeer ChickWe watched them for probably ten minutes, laughing at their antics and trying not to terrify the parents too much. The babies were almost fearless, but I knew if I got too close, I would have an angry parent flying at my face. The babies’ movements were comical, so perfect and coordinated that they looked almost awkward, their little feathers still downy and short, in spite of their grown-up coloring.
Killdeer ChickHard to believe that something that tiny and helpless will be flying and protecting its own nest before too long!

Laura Elizabeth


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