Saturday, July 28, 2012

The 39th day of summer edges towards evening. Saturday, July 28th, 2012 is the day of the Killdeer. I feel like I have a broken wing, which I will stop faking in the remaining 55 days of summer.

A sand two track runs along the railway south of Sherman Road. Friday
after work, I set off on this two track, which has solid wet sand. My
rear tire dug into the sand only once, and I didn't spill. I had to
stop and find solid sand again, but I didn't spill. I had walked this
two-track in spring, and five times that day, I scared up the same
kind of bird from the short grass. Friday, I scared up only one, which
looked like the spring birds but flew differently. The spring birds
flew higher and longer, several landing on the branches of scrub
trees. My mid-summer bird flew just far enough away and landed in the
short grass on the north side of the rail road tracks. I immediately
thought killdeer when I saw its wings return to sides.

I see this is where I am as a birder. I can see the spring and summer
birds are different, but I can't positively identify either. I say the
bird from Friday was a Killdeer, but after looking at pictures and
reading about behavior, I would like to find an article for a
different bird that gives me the shock of perfect recognition. I have
wondered why birds have dominated the days of summer lately, and I am
sure its because I haven't gone fishing, looked in bait buckets or
stared at an aquarium lately. I am sure the mammals are keeping cool
during the day in the forests or hunting at night. The birds arrive at
my door step, perform before my patio and follow me on my travels. As
for misidentifying species, I am thinking my coho salmon of a few days
ago might be a type of trout, the brook trout. No one wrote me to say
putting a coho in an aquarium would be cruel or unusual, thus absurd.
I have no plans to rename the days, but I might give the articles a
revision and a rewrite.

The Killdeer is a wader bird, as one can tell from its feet. Yet, this
wader prefers to live in grassland, often not near the water where it
wades. I believe that this matches the lifestyle of the snipes too.
The Killdeer lays its clutch of eggs on the ground, around four eggs
designed by nature to mimic pebbles. The simple nest has a lining of
stones and grass. The Killdeer has to protect this nest with
distraction displays. My so-called Killdeer flew away, so I doubt he
or she was attending a nest. A Killdeer that was nesting would have
faked a broken wing and called its cry until my attention was drawn
away from looking for the nest. I would love to see a Killdeer nest,
but that might make the mother break its eggs, which would make me a
bad naturalist.

As I study a picture of a Killdeer nest, I wonder how the eggs keep
from contracting the dampness of the soil. Rocks and grass can't be
much protection. Inside those eggs, nature's hidden process turns out
a chick ready to move and see as soon as the shell gives way. That's
pretty remarkable. I pass in this society as a learned man, and I
couldn't design a machine that would fly as soon as its eggshell
factory cracked open.

Web Notes:
Killdeer cry, "Killdeer! Killdear!" The name is an onomatopoeia.

Playing three guesses with nature. Is it a brook trout?

Photography Credits

Killdeer, Albert Head Lagoon, Metchosin, Near Victoria, British Columbia

September 2007
Alan D. Wilson

Killdeer in a field near County Rd 309 in Llano County, Texas, USA,
near Packsaddle Mountain. When I approach this area the bird started a
broken wing simulation so I presume she had a nest nearby. After a few
minutes when I did not approach any closer she quit pretending and
walked off.

Date 12 April 2010
Author Earl McGehee

Four Killdeer eggs in grassy depression.

28 April 2007 (UTC)
Photo taken by User:Basil

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