Killdeer flit blithely hither and yon all year round near our house. Their erratic movements remind me of the pipers I used to see as a child on the beaches of the Florida panhandle.
But this one was acting even more strangely than a killdeer normally would. She wandered around then flailed wildly as though injured.
Oh, poor thing! She’s got a broken wing! I thought. But no, Norm told me, it’s just a ruse. It’s springtime after all. Mama must have a nest nearby and is using herself to lure predators away from her eggs.
Low and behold – her nest was right behind where she was putting on her Oscar-worthy performance. Unfortunately, she constructed the nest smack dab in the middle of our driveway. I can understand why she did so – her eggs camouflage perfectly with the grey rocks. She knows nothing of driveways and cars. But Norm does, of course.
My sweet man to the rescue. He propped up an old crate with bricks to alert potential visitors of Mama Bird’s unfavorable choice of nest locations.
Why couldn’t she have chosen one of the many bird houses we have littering our property? If shade is her preference, she could have moved into this one underneath a bevy of oak trees.
Or if she has a penchant for fun in the sun, she could have squatted in this one near the satsuma tree: It’s still a sapling and offers little shade.
Oh no – not this one, Mama Killdeer! Mama Eastern Bluebird has already taken up residence….or maybe this is the Mister and he’s looking out for his young’ns. Either way, this wise family has settled in a much more propitious place for their nestlings.
In spite of her poor choice – or maybe because of it – I wanted to lend a hand to Mama Killdeer. The least I could do was to offer her food, to make her daunting task a mite easier.
My daddy used to call the end pieces of bread “bird bread,” and my sisters and I were allowed to break it up into little pieces and throw it in the yard.
I shredded the bird bread and placed it in the only feeder I have – this statue of a little girl and her bread basket. It was a gift from Norm and Jillian on my thirty-first birthday. Her name is Marie, and after surviving six feet of Katrina sludge, she now has the admirable task of feeding Mama Killdeer.
Today I had to bother Mama Killdeer again. Though I didn’t want to add any more stress to her already stressful job, I had to approach her nest if I were to get one more picture to show you. Look – she now has four eggs!
I will keep you updated on the four pipsqueaks’ progress.
I hope you are having a beautiful spring! ♥