The Killdeer Chronicles – Part 11

We’ve got babies! I was glancing absentmindedly out the window very early this morning and I noticed the goofiest thing. The mama Killdeer ran off of her nest at full speed, the full distance of the yard (toward the house) then ran back to the nest, also at full speed. I have never seen anything like it. A few seconds later she did the same thing again, but this time I could see she was carrying something in her mouth. Then it clicked in my head, it was an eggshell. She was removing the shells from the nest and depositing them somewhere else so they didn’t attract predators. And I knew that could mean only one thing … hatching!

We found various shells (and bits of shells) around the yard and collected them from the grass mainly so the dog wouldn’t eat them. They were very fragile, so we placed them in a flower pot to photograph them. Here are a few pictures. They were still wet inside, so we knew we were watching things in real time.

The parents were kind enough to allow us a few moments with their still-wet babies! First, only three had hatched.

Note the fourth egg already opened on its right side. Within 15 minutes, the final baby arrived! In the pictures below, eggshell bits are still visible on one of the babies.

Then, the mother settled herself over her brood to give them time to rest and dry.

The babies stayed all day, in fact they are still here, so we’ve got many, many additional pictures to share with you. We’ll be back tomorrow. Thanks for following along!

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