Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Killdeer Rescue. Sorry, no snakes in this post.


After a hail storm the other day, we witnessed a hopeless situation as 2 killdeer parents had attempted to move their chicks. For those that don't know, killdeers are really pretty birds that are closely related to plovers. They fly very well, but nest on the ground, relying heavily on camouflage. Killdeer eggs are even colored to match the rocks where they're laid. Anyway, the chicks were stuck on the road because of the high curbs on each side. It wouldn't be long before the chicks were either hit by a car or eaten by a cat or dog. They needed help. My wife looked at me and pleaded with me not to get involved because we were in a hurry as usual. She knows me better than that. I first helped the larger chick over the curb and it ran quickly to some tall grass. The smaller chick was wet and seemed very weak. While I began to help the

smaller chick over the curb, both of the killdeer parents would come close to me and fake an injury by flopping all over the ground as if their wings were broken. This is just their instinctive behavior to draw predators away and is entertaining to witness. The smaller chick didn't run to the tall grass and was almost too weak to stand. In the confusion, one of the parents flew to the smaller chick and started pecking at it. I intervened and walked up to the chick and picked it up. As I walked back, I could tell my wife was completely thrilled that we were now going to adopt another animal. I quickly did some research on raising killdeer chicks and found out that it is impossible to do. Besides being against the law, even killdeer experts cannot raise killdeer chicks. This is because killdeer parents never feed their chicks. From the moment they hatch, killdeer chicks have to find their own food. They must learn how to find food by watching and learning from their parents. After learning this, I dried off the smaller chick and quickly ran it back to the area thinking that I might have sealed this poor chick's fate. I was relieved to hear the chick calling loudly back to the parents and they flew up to me and faked injuries again. I set the chick at the edge of the tall grass where the larger chick had gone and then I withdrew. One of the killdeer parents then flew up to the chick and I feared that the parent would again peck the chick, but the parent led the chick into the tall grass to safety. That was really good to see. It was a good feeling to think we helped this bird family.

9 comments:

Tom said...

It was noble of you to try and rescue the chck, but I suppose it is better to let nature take its own course. I`m glad things turned out the way it did.
I like snakes and I like your blog. Ill be adding it to my RSS feeds and following it. Cheers.

Robby said...

Thanks Tom.
I enjoy your photography and I hope you don't mind me getting ideas from your shots.
Robby

robin andrea said...

Hi Robby-- Your story is quite nice. I understand your desire to intervene and rescue the little killdeer chick. I'm glad it worked out well, and I hope that baby has a nice long life.

Thanks for your note about our pigeon post. I'm going to take a look around at your snake site here, and get some idea of what your perspective and outlook are.

Gallicissa said...

Hi Robby,
Good to see a birdie post on my first visit here! I would have intervened in such a situation myself too. As a Buddhist I can tell you that you have accrued a lot of merit by this act!

You have a superb blog and I will be back!

Warren and Lisa Strobel said...

Wonderful story! I never knew that Killdeer parents don't feed their chicks. Thanks for inviting us to come by your blog...

Warren & Lisa

Dave said...

Good job Robby!

LauraHinNJ said...

Yay!

I've done the same for baby bunnies stranded on the road by high curbs.

D. Luckins said...

Awww, nice story. The parents were probably pecking at it to get it to move away from you or change its direction. When killdeer chicks are hiding or held, they often go limp and sometimes fall asleep. So, when you put them down, they may be lethargic. This is so they won't trigger the hunting instinct of animals that like to play with their food before killing it. It buys the parents more time to distract the predator away from the chick.

blackfalcon_7 said...

@Tom, Curbs aren't really a part of nature are they? Good Job Rob:P