This morning, while drinking my coffee outside, I listened to the morning sounds of Gamble’s Quail, Say’s Phoebe, occasional Spotted Towhee and White-wing Doves which have been building a nest in a tree near the patio. In the last couple of days I’ve been hearing a Killdeer in the area and spotted her yesterday in the gravel lot in front of my house. Noticing her peculiar behavior I knew she was either already nesting or finding a place to nest.
Thinking “Oh no, this may not be the best place to nest…” as I notice through binoculars that she is indeed already nesting. As she sits on her eggs, she picks tiny debris around her to clear the area to her satisfaction.
Luckily, the lot doesn’t get much traffic and I am here to be able to watch that no-body comes trampling through, but it’s no guarantee. I wanted to ensure I knew where the eggs were to mark the area around with a couple of larger stones with plenty of space around her eggs. So I walked over to discover two beautifully camouflaged eggs.
After verifying the location of her eggs I decided to mark the area with a couple of large rocks. While I was trying to locate the nest, the killdeer appeared and began performing a broken wing display in an attempt to coax me away from her eggs. Broken wing displays are a common survival strategy in ground nesting birds and she performs this evolutionary trait to perfection. I hurry to set the stones and give her back her space.
In my mind I can’t think of why she would choose this particular spot, with such uniform, unnatural gravel, so close to passing traffic but alas, when the over-whelming drive to nest floods the brain with instinct, there is no time to wait, only to act! So, here she is, near my front yard.
I can see her sitting on her eggs from my window as I write this.
Update, June 5th: Upon looking through some binoculars there are now 4 eggs.