Friday, April 13, 2012

Killdeer Jr.

By fun coincidence, there have been some excellent posts and photos of young Killdeer this last week in the bird Blog-o-sphere. I'd never seen the young before, and but from the pictures they looked pretty adorable. It was another case of birding synchronicity when I went to the Glendale Recharge Ponds on Friday evening and saw my first Killdeer chicks.

The ponds were pretty full and there was a lot of cloud cover. Even so, the bio-diversity was pretty poor. There were reports of Buffleheads and Curlews just the day before, but when I got there it was only Coots, Mallards, tons of Least Sandpipers, and a few Avocets, all of which stayed very far from the basin perimeters. It was a pretty disappointing outing until I headed back to the car, at which point the scurrying little puff balls caught my eye. 

They were running around in one of the few dry basins while their parents screeched encouragement/criticism. One of the chicks must have been a little bit sleepy, or maybe it was just in time-out. At any rate it decided to huddle down next to a rock, using the thick full tall green grass as  impenetrable protection.

It didn't seem like a very good spot to settle, especially while a potential predator (me) was watching. As Greg Gillson pointed out in his recent BirdingIsFun article, Killdeer do pick rather odd places to nest and rest at times. All the same, this little guy felt pretty comfortable, and soon closed his eyes.

I like the chicks much better than the parents. They're quiet.