As I’ve often said, my favorite bird is the one I’m looking at at the moment. Two minutes ago my favorite bird was a dove as one sat on on my windowsill looking in at me. About 30 minutes ago, my favorite bird was a female cardinal (female cardinal’s beaks are such a beautiful color of orange, it defies description).
Let’s be honest – I love all birds. Yes, even blackbirds. I think they’re beautiful and, quite frankly, I love their determination and fighting spirit.
Another bird that brings me a great deal of entertainment and joy is the killdeer. We have a lot of Killdeer around us and I could watch them for hours at a time. Their graceful beauty, unmistakable call (kind of a screechy kill-deer), and unique personality make them a favorite whether I’m watching one at the moment or haven’t seen one for hours.
The most fascinating thing about these birds has to do with their parental instincts and it never ceases to amaze me.
When Killdeer fear that their nest is threatened by a “predator,” they launch into a display that has to be seen to be believed. The adult Killdeer will shriek, then launch into a “wounded” act to draw the predator away from the nest. It’s as though they’re saying, “Look! I’m injured.. an easy prey, here.. Come get me!” They’ll flop around, raising one wing in the air as though it’s broken. It’s really something to see.
We have a lot of Killdeers in the fields and lots near our home and are fortunate to see this production often. When I know a nest is in a particular area, I try to avoid it – not only do I not want to chance stepping on the eggs, I don’t want to rile up the parents and cause them any undue stress or temper tantrums.
On the day I took these pictures, I was actually trying to get a good photo of a mother rabbit and 3 adorable babies. Just as I saw 4 fluffy little tails all hop out of sight, I heard the unmistakable call of a Killdeer and looked around in time to catch her act. From a distance, I snapped a few pictures. That’s why they’re out of focus, she was many feet away. As I started to walk away, I noticed the little eggs she was fiercely protecting.
Thank God I always watch where I step!
I took a really, really, really quick picture of the nest and left the scene, after all it’s their home, not mine. That’s always been my approach to photographing wildlife – enjoy them but treat them with respect. If the opportunity arises to take a picture, I do so as quickly and quietly as possible. That’s why a lot of my pictures of wildlife may not be “lined up” perfectly – like you’d see in a photography magazine.
That sort of thing doesn’t matter nearly as much as allowing the animal to enjoy his or her day with the same amount of joy they brought to mine.