Happy Father’s Day.
In May, my husband and I went to the Rock Shoppe in Plymouth, Michigan to find some stones for the edging of the pond in the back yard. It was a sunny spring day and we were wandering the extensive grounds looking for just the right thing – kind of greenish slate tiles. We went into a more remote fenced area with less foot traffic, and an insistent bird got our attention. He was on the ground near one of the bins of rocks, maybe 10 feet away from us. He chirped at us, seeming to stamp his foot to tell us to move along. He stood his ground, staring at us.
Both the male and the female kildeer incubate the pair’s eggs. According to this description from Audubon, only the female tries her classic wounded wing act to distract us from her nest. The male exhibits more of a stay-and-fight defense. As he stood there, glaring, I was able to spot the nest of spotted eggs in the gravel road of the rock yard, a few inches from his toes (this is not my photo, but it is a nice one!).
I thought about how ridiculous it was. A 6-inch tall bird was having a face-off with two 6-foot humans! We meant no harm, but it is possible in our obliviousness we might have blundered into the nest. His chirp was a clear warning, and he seemed fearless and confident. How apt is his Latin name Charadrius vociferus.
We turned away, and as we left, he settled back on his nest.
Papa kildeer – may your babies be as fierce as you and live long.