Do you remember the kildeer (we've always called them "kildee") eggs we found at the edge of our gravel driveway? (You can click on any of the pictures to view them a little closer).
We've been watching them diligently everyday. Since we weren't really sure how long Mama Kildeer and Daddy Kildeer have been sitting on the nest, we didn't want to miss the little ones' debut. The incubation period for the eggs is about 28-29 days. Mama Kildeer hasn't been real happy with me stopping by for my visits.
She immediately begins her squawkin' and fussin' at me....running off into the yard with her broken wing routine to distract me! She's so funny! Because I don't fall for it, she lies there even longer swinging that wing round and round as if saying, "Can't you see I have a broken wing here....come see"!
And then there's Daddy Kildeer overhead flying circles above us squawking and fussing at me to go away and leave his family alone! That's the way God made them to protect their family though, and they're doing a very good job at it! They're excellent parents....I can say that for them!
Friday evening, my dad (Pop) came over and told me that one of the four eggs had hatched and we had our first baby kildeer! With camera in hand, we immediately flocked to the nest. Isn't he (or she) cute?
Do you see the little beak hole in the egg beside him?
Mama and Daddy Kildeer were especially not happy with us then! Mama was scolding me!
Before we left to go out for dinner, the second baby arrived! See, she's still all wet!
Then there was a third one...
Mama must have gathered them all back together to snuggle...can you see all three? The next time I checked they were all scrunched up together snug and cozy!
And we were so blessed to actually be standing there when baby #4's little beak started breaking through first. And then little by little, she was pushing her way into the new world!
Meanwhile, Mama Kildeer was getting bolder. I guess she realized that this human was not giving up too easily. She was getting closer to me and really fussing! And then Daddy Kildeer was still flying overhead warning me to go away. After the above picture, we retired for the evening to let the parents tend to the babies. I was only hoping that the babies wouldn't be gone from the nest before we had a chance to see them, since it was overnight. They don't stay around very long!
The next morning by the time we got out there, one had already left the nest or was far enough away that he was well hidden in the grass somewhere. The others were still there. Mama was very protective on this day as if she sensed the most danger. She was becoming bolder.
First a warning....
Then she just became downright bold and approached me with this warning...."Don't mess with my babies!!!". Can you believe that sweet little bird above can make herself look like this??? Pretty impressive!
With that warning signal, I felt like she needed to be with them, so we did leave for awhile. When we did make it back out there, another baby was missing from the nest. The third one was walking around not far away. Can you see him? He blends in so well!
This baby became my model! He was so little and cute!
In this photo he seems to be saying, "Man, it's a big world out there"!
He wasn't fond of me following him around with the big black camera, but I did get a few more shots!
His long wiry legs were so wobbly! It was funny watching him walk, stumble, get up, flap his wings a little, then wobble along.
This left one more still lying in the nest. This one just wasn't ready to get up and try out her wobbly legs just yet. So, we went inside and waited. The next time, we went out there, they were all gone.....no trace of them anywhere. All fragments and pieces of the eggs were gone and the only evidence that there had ever been a family of kildeer there, was a little indention in the gravel where the eggs had laid.
I think they're off somewhere trying out their lanky wobbly legs and even having trial flights with close supervision from Mama and Daddy Kildeer. Then they'll be off on their own and maybe they'll decide to make their nest here one day and....... hopefully I'll have my camera ready! :)