I've been watching a killdeer nest in Greenville, Wisconsin on Ustream since they laid their eggs. These devoted parents sit on those eggs day and night through storms and everything, but they persevere. I don't think that they left the nest for anymore than a half hour at a time.
When there was a cold snap in the area, the birds sat on those eggs day and night without a break. They really didn't need to leave them, there were bugs all around their nest and they often ate them while sitting on the eggs. Lots of ants and flies all around, especially after the rain.
One day, a few days before the eggs were due to hatch, an egg was found five feet away from the nest. Now, you have to know this in order to see what a feat it was that the egg ended up there. The nest is in a bed of rocks near a sidewalk that is raised up. The egg had to have been pushed onto the sidewalk and rolled away. There was no damage to the egg at all, not a mark and no predator was seen. It happened around mid-morning on a day where it had been raining very hard with lots of wind. When the egg was finally discovered, it was already cold and probably non-viable. However, it most likely was fertile as it was heavy in weight. But, nothing could be seen when held up to a light.
Well, the eggs are on their 33rd or 34th day since they first began to brood them. I don't know what factor the cold weather may have played in the fact that they haven't hatched. I also wondered if maybe their development was slowed down by the cold weather and they still might actually hatch. The parents haven't given up and are diligently sitting on the eggs day and night. I will keep you updated.
I was going to name the chicks Spike, Killer, Bruiser and Lulu. Bruiser was the egg that was thrown out. I'll have to give those names to some other killdeer chicks. I was so hoping to see the chicks as I haven't seen any around my area this year (I would worry to death about them if I did see them in a place where the chicks could get hurt by people, so it's probably good that I haven't seen any yet).
Thanks to the stream owner, known as Pkonopa for posting this stream and providing still photos.
If you are curious, you can view the stream here, but I don't expect it to be up much longer unless the birds lay more eggs nearby.
*Update* Nest was found empty a few days after this post and a half an egg was found 15 feet away. The stream is down right now, but may go back up if the birds decide to nest near the office where the camera was. Will keep you posted.