A couple of weeks ago, I saw a bird do something strange. She was rubbing her belly in the sand, swaying her spread wide tail showing a beautiful rufous color. So, naturally, I took a bunch of pictures. I had no idea why she was doing that.
Then, last Tuesday, I decided I should check out the pics before going out to hike the next morning. That was a very good idea. As I was examining the pictures I saw in one of the pictures what that bird was doing. She was taking my attention away from her eggs which I had not noticed. You can see them clearly at her feet in the last picture of the first gallery.
I only took 2 photos of that scene without realizing what I was looking at, because she succeeded in attracting me away with her wounded bird routine. At the moment I had no idea what was up. I researched and quickly found out that this is a well known behavior of the killdeer. And it doesn’t only do this to take your attention away from the eggs, it will also do it to protect the chicks.
I went back to the very same spot and found out that the chicks had hatched. The parents again tried to distract me away, but this time I knew, and didn’t have any difficulty identifying the exact spot where the eggs were. So I saw the cute little chicks close together. The remained perfectly still. Apparently they knew to do that and it might work for most predators, because they are really not obvious as you can see in the first picture in the second gallery. It shows you exact how I saw the site upon approach it. It would be very easy to miss them if not knowing.
Last Sunday, I went back to the site, hoping to see the chicks moving around, but as you will see in the last picture, they were gone. Not only that but the spot looked like nothing ever happened there. It made me wish I had setup a trap camera to record what happened. Since then I read that they will move out of the nesting area the very next day to bring the chicks to a safer place. I was pleased to see that at least they do not stay in such an exposed area.
Mom was a bit nervous but as I stood far away enough and used my very long focal lens she decided to come back to warm up her chicks. I left shortly after shooting that video.