Just like Paula alerting me to the baby robins at her parents’, which have fledged, another coworker, Andrea, alerted me to a Killdeer nest at her sister and brother-in-law’s place in Malta, NY.  She actually called me last night to find out what kind of bird it was and to find out what they should do as a major landscaping project involving bulldozers and other heavy machinery was scheduled to commence there today in order to improve drainage.

My advice, which was taken (as you can see in the picture), was to mark the nest with some kind of string to make sure no one accidentally squished the eggs.  As you can see from the picture below, the bulldozer came close but the Killdeer stuck by its eggs.

I refer to the Killdeer as “it” because according to my bird books both parents take on incubation duties and tend the precocial young when they hatch and leave the nest and I don’t think it’s possible to tell male and female Killdeer apart without having them in hand.  Hatching won’t occur for awhile, as incubation takes between three-and-a-half and four weeks!

While moving around the nest to get the sun behind me I guess I got too close, because the parent ran a short distance away, vocalizing, but just a single note, not the “Kill-dee” call for which they are named.  I also wasn’t lucky enough to see (or photograph) a broken-wing ruse.

I did, however, take advantage of the bird’s momentary absence to get a picture of the two eggs in the shallow scrape that serves as a Killdeer‘s nest (update: a third egg was laid last night (5/31)).

The Killdeer quickly returned to the eggs when I backed away from the nest.

To see a more recent visit to the nest, click here.

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.