Killdeer

I consider it a shame that while we live on an acreage surrounded by nature, my son shows little – if no – interest. I use to walk him around the yard and tell him the names of plants and trees, both wild and planted, because that’s what my mom would do for us. Of course I don’t think that contributed to my adult love of landscaping, but it didn’t hurt.

I make Doodicus play outside when I am out there weeding or trimming. The drama that accompanies that makes me want to bean him with the rake. The other day I let him water the flowers (which translates to spraying everything BUT the flowers with the sprayer attachment on the hose) and he saw a wasp.

“Mom!! There’s a wasp!”

*eyeroll* “Just spray it, Doodicus.”

“IT’S STILL MOVING!!!!!!!!!!”

“Then go step on it! Stop being such a pansy.”

“I HATE being outside!!”

“Suck it up ’cause you’re not going inside.”

Yes, I’m sure you would have handled that differently, but you know it’s been five years since we moved out here and I’m over trying to show him how much more interesting it is to explore the outdoors rather than sit on the couch and watch Spongebob or play video games. He doesn’t care. That doesn’t mean I’ve completely given up though.

I’ve noticed over the past week that each time I drove on the lane, a killdeer would be frightened into flight. I knew what this meant and this weekend I went for a walk down the lane. Sure enough, an adult killdeer started running away just yards in front of me. When I would pause to look at the rocks, it would call out. Then it would fall down, its “broken wings” flashing orange. I could get within only a few feet of it before it would get up and run ahead of me again before falling down “wounded”.

This is how killdeer distract predators from its nest, pretending to be injured. I wanted to show Doodicus so we headed outside for a walk. I pointed out the bird and told him to try to catch it. While skeptical, because what nine year old child isn’t skeptical ALL the time, he walked towards it and sure enough it limped away. The bird led him all the way up the lane before it flew up and away and back to its nest.

I had found the nest earlier, so I brought my son over to the general vicinity of it and told him to find it for himself. I’m sure he thought I was playing a joke on him until I stepped him right up to it and pointed directly at the four, round specked eggs, perfectly camouflaged in the rocks.

As we walked back towards the house he said, “That was COOL!”

I hope I’ll have the chance to show him the babies after they hatch because they are seriously some of the cutest baby animals I’ve ever seen. Cottonballs on toothpicks is the best description I can give them. I’ll let you know in a month. This is the picture I took after I showed my son the nest:

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11 thoughts on “Killdeer”

  1. I think you handled that bee situation perfectly. Of course, I’m the mom who locked the door so the kids couldn’t sneak back into the house while I was distracted! I’m happy to say that my behavior doesn’t seem to have made any impact on the kids at all. My infant, who loved all natural things, still does (25 years later). The one who just knew he was being punished for something, still hates being outside (21 years later). Go figure!

    Both kids read, read, read – that’s my proudest accomplishment – but I suspect I didn’t have much to do with that either. I totally modeled the behavior and I read to them daily, but they are who they are and do what they do. I just loved them, showed them what I thought was important AND they did the rest.

    You’ll see – life is good!

    1. I’ll definitely give you that with the reading! I love to read, but the boy? Not so much. When I suggest he read instead of play video games, you’d swear I was punishing him by the way he complains.

  2. I love killdeer – mostly cause they’re lazy like me in that they aren’t going up no stinkin’ tree to build a nest and they’d rather act injured than actually fight. :o)

  3. That really IS cool!

    I have the same problem with getting A outside. He does usually enjoy it once we’re out, but god, the drama in getting him there! Makes me want to tear my hair out. he would rather stay inside fighting over toys with T than go out. Ack!

  4. We call them cottonballs on toothpicks too!!!! Have them all up and down our lane…one of my favorite things about spring.

  5. I’m sure Doodicus will come around…
    I was beginning to despair of all my pain & sacrifice in hanging onto the farm, when all MY Z wanted to do as well was camp out indoors & play his video games…
    This past year (turning 12) is the first time that he’s really spent a significant amount of time outdoors of his own free will (that is, when I was loading him up horseback & “forcing” him to ride).

  6. Great moment, thanks for sharing. I hope you have ignited his interest in the outdoors. I love that you keep pushing him outside to play.

  7. I’m glad as uninterested as Doodicus was with the outdoors you kept at it and he got to experience the killdeer. Can’t wait to hear what he thinks of those little babies when they hatch!

    We used to have birds nest in crevices under our covered patio back in our previous house. Most of the time they were mourning doves but sometimes we’d get hummingbirds. One year the hummingbirds chased the mourning doves away, didn’t have kind feelings for hummingbirds after that–aggressive and mean! But, there is something wonderful to seeing birds nest, lay their eggs and then seeing the babies when they hatch and finally all leave the nest.

  8. That’s awesome.

    Here’s my killdeer story. We have one nesting in the rocks between two parking lots by my building, which is part lab, part city hall. Thursdays, they have municipal court so the parking lots get filled up. We have large windows in our office area, facing the parking lots where the killdeer is nesting. It’s fairly calm, with all the traffic going through, but if you get up close to the nest, it will do its thing. Last Thursday, I was about to open up the window and start yelling like a fishwife at this idiot who was waiting for someone in court. He had parked near the nest, and was standing next to the front of his car. This was too close for the bird’s comfort, so she started putting on the wounded bird show. When that didn’t work, she started making lots of noise. The idiot, who clearly knew nothing about birds, started kicking at her and throwing rocks. I wanted to go down there and kick his ass. To top it off, he had a kid in the car. Way to provide a good example of coexisting with nature, asshole. Fortunately, he didn’t harm the bird (or her nest). I’ll have to go and check things out – I suspect her babies should be hatching pretty soon.

  9. Awesome! I remember reading about that’s what Killdeer do, but forgot. We have some around here and will have to check it out.

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