Hello! Most of my posts take place around San Diego County, (Mostly Lake Murray) unless otherwise noted.
For more posts and photos, I also post on Hubpages, a site that is a bit different than others. Thanks!: Shorebirdie on Hubpages

Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 5, chicks' voices getting louder

Possibly the last photo I will be able to take for a while. This is the largest chick, possibly a female

When I arrived, dad killdeer was over in his M2 area eating flies. He complained at me when I walked up to look at the ducks before he flew back over to where his family was at. I noticed that grackles were spending a lot of time in that area and I thought, at one time, that they were attacking a chick, but it might be one of the parents attacking the grackles. The grackles were not in the area when I visited a second time.

Today, I only managed to see the largest chick and photograph her. Yes, I said her as it appears that she might be going to be a female, but I probably won't be sure until later, if I see them again. I looked and looked and I thought I heard at least one, possibly two other chicks in the brush the first time I passed by.

A strange female killdeer stopped by and began feeding in the area. She looked like she was going to lay eggs any day now. The parents didn't react to her at first, but one of them did make an aggressive call towards her letting her know that she's not welcome. The strange female continued to feed and I assume she left afterward because she was not there a few hours later.

Strange female, possibly a grown chick or relative responding to the alarm calls the parents made.

The second time I passed by, about mid-day, I did not see any chicks at all, though the parents were obviously reacting to me being there and doing broken wing acts. I thought I heard at least one chick peeping, very loudly, from the brush but I couldn't be sure if it was a chick peeping loudly, or mom peeping softly.

I left the area and came back later and one person said that they heard a chick peeping very loudly in the brush, but when I went to check, I did not find it. But, as I went to leave, dad killdeer got very upset and flew ahead of me, probably thinking that I had taken a chick, so I must have been close.

On the way down the road, I passed by the more protected area and could see and hear dad calling for his chicks at that end. I, and the other person could hear two very loud, distinct responses from two chicks there. Mom was still over where the last chick was heard and continued to call. I assume she found him and directed him over to the protected area as she began to get quiet and made softer calls.

I hope all five got together. I'm sure they're all fine, killdeer are usually good at finding their babies and moving them away.

The chicks are getting better at responding by running and hiding more effectively. Instead of freezing where they're at when I approach, the scatter, usually two in one direction and one in another and hide near rocks or brush. It's nearly impossible for me to find them when they hide under brush. It's good that they're hiding behind rocks, even though they're still pretty accessible and able to be grabbed, but they are less likely to get stepped on by accident.

I am not going to be spending as much time looking for the chicks as I used to do. They hide very well now and as long as I know the parents are still protecting them, at least one is still alive. As they grow, their calls will be louder and, eventually, they will not rush to hide as quickly as they do right now. Or, they will be bigger and more noticeable when they do hide. So, mostly I will be listening for them and if I see them, that will be great, too.

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