Friday, June 5, 2009

Killdeers Hatched

Four fluffy killdeer chicks are scurrying around one of the plowed and mostly planted fields at New Roots Farm. Their parents are pulling any potential predators far away by feigning a broken wing and calling loudly. Perhaps the reason for their Latin name, Charadrius vociferus.

I took this photo of the eggs on May 17th.

The nest was a small scrape, a slight indentation lined with a few pebbles at the edge of a plastic covered row. This row was left unplanted until the eggs hatched. The big day was Wednesday, June 3rd. As soon as they hatched and dried their feathers, the precocious young walked out of the nest.

Farmer Renee took this photo of two chicks
still in the nest the day they hatched. Cute.......

It is fun to watch the chicks move about just like the adults. They run a few steps, stop suddenly, do a slight bob, look about perhaps for a flushed insect, then run again. When still, they are nearly impossible to see. The mobile chicks remain dependent on their parents and do not formally "fledge" for another month. At that point, the adult pair, which both incubated the eggs and feed the young chicks, may raise a second brood.

For now they are busy searching for grasshoppers, earthworms, beetles, snails, and seeds to feed four hungry chicks. And the New Roots farmers (and their helpers, such as me) can finish planting the row.

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