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!)