Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Killdeer Chicks Update

Killdeer chicks are adorable. I can't resist visiting them almost daily, but so as not to bore you too much, this should be a final post on their progression.

They are growing into their wings...

and learning to stretch them out...

Little puffballs on stilts!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Whitetail Doe

Whitetail Doe, originally uploaded by Hannibals Animals.

A close encounter with a hungry doe. I can only imagine she has a fawn hidden nearby, as the season for newborn fawns is here.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ring-necked Pheasant Family

The Ring-necked Pheasant was introduced into North America from Asia and is established over much of the continent, especially in agricultural lands. It is a distinctive and colorful species and is a popular game bird.

I found a family of at least 6 chicks with both parents protecting them.



Goose Lake Prairie State Park

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Killdeer Family Survival

I have always wanted to see Killdeer eggs hatch, and had a mom on my radar for weeks.

She sat on a good spot, but being there when it was happening is a lot to ask. I can't camp out, but knew it was a matter of days or even hours this past weekend. Of course, when I arrived Monday morning, the chicks were born and scurrying around. I missed it! Oh well, at least they are still near the nest, so I can only be a few hours late. Getting down to business, I'm hoping I can get a shot I've been wanting forever, so I take couple hundred cutie shots of the newborn action.

Climbing this curb was fun to watch. The chick made it to the top with those stilted legs doing their job.

Dad tried to lure me away with his best broken wing display, but gave up after I backed off a little further away.

Click on any photo to much larger!

Watching the chicks tuck under mom for security and warmth was the shots I was after.

Wanting to see all those lanky legs under moms fluff was a shot I was going for, but I settled for these which were adorable to watch, as they scooted under and disappeared. What happened next though was shocking...

A Mink came out of the tall grasses and attacked the Dad. Dad was quick enough to fly up instantainiously and retaliate by dive-bombing the Mink. Mom joined in and kept the Mink distracted from her babies until it fled back into the grasses. This all happened in a nano-second and then it was over.

I got a total of 3 shots, it happened so fast. 2 of them were barely in the frame. I posted this half-Mink shot because you can see the chick in the background on the right side. The Mink by-passed the easy meal to go after the larger prey. Luckily, it lost the fight and the Killdeer family remained intact!

So it was a VERY happy ending for the Killdeer family! (And this photographer!)