About a week ago, I noticed two birds acting erratically in the vegetable field. They seemed to be working as a team to try to keep me away from something. Of course my curiosity was piqued and I began searching for a nest. Sure enough, right smack in the middle of a walking area, there was a lone little speckled egg on the ground. All by itself...no nest, no protection, save for crazy mama and daddy. I did my best to avoid the area as they squawked and ran in circles extending one wing as if they were injured.
I finished my work that day and we did a little internet research to find they are Killdeer. Killdeer are actually a shore bird but often are found on golf courses, parking lots, lawns and obviously, vegetable fields. They lay their eggs on the ground and make the nest almost as an afterthought. They protect the eggs as a team, running around with one wing out, squatting low to the ground, fluffing their orange tail feathers, chirping quite loudly and as a last resort....charging whoever or whatever appears to be threatening the nest.
The next day I was back in the field and they were at it again. I searched for the egg so I could avoid it. I walked all over where I remembered it to be and couldn't find it! Finally, I looked down and less than 24 inches from my feet was not one, but THREE little eggs. And there was a nest around them!!! All this time of searching for the nest, Mama and Daddy were pitching a fit!! I gasped at how close I came and split!
Well, a few days passed and yesterday I was out in the field again, dropping plants in the ground. This time Mama and Daddy Killdeer were a little louder, a little more aggressive. I also was spending a lot more time closer to the nest. I was putting squash plants in the ground and noticed FOUR pretty little speckled eggs. I was busy with my head down and all of a sudden Mama flew right at me!! ATTACK!!! I jumped up and ran in the opposite direction.
I thought, NOW what am I gonna do? I looked around and saw quite a few sticks that were close to the same size and length. I gathered as many as I could and with watchful eyes approached the eggs. Quickly, I pushed the sticks into the ground in a large circle around the nest. The result is a little fence like perimeter so I can easily spot the "forbidden zone". Strangely enough, they seemed a bit calmer after I marked the spot.
I'm heading back to the field today for more planting. Fortunately, I will be moving further away from the nest but will still be on high alert. And since the eggs will be there for about a month before they hatch and then awhile before the chicks can fly on their own....I will be ducking and weaving to avoid a Killdeer Dive bomb attack!!