Monday, July 5, 2010
M1 and F3 had chicks!
I went and checked on what I assumed was Little Male's breeding area as I could hear two killdeer screaming at people fishing on the shore. When I arrived there, I saw an adult killdeer and a chick running under the brush. The adults appeared to be M2 and possibly his mate, F3 whom I had witness breeding June 7th. I immediately searched for the chick, much to the dismay of the two adults there, but found none. So, I waited and listened. Every time the two adults would call, I would hear responses from four different directions. With even more patience, I saw both parents brood three separate chicks. I managed to get up and find the chicks in the locations that the adults were seen brooding them.
The chicks stayed very, very still and I was able to move branches around them to get a photo of the three. They appeared to be about ten to twelve hours old, which meant that they were born right in the middle of the 4th of July fireworks celebrations. I got my photos and backed off, hoping to find the fourth. People were beginning to notice all the noise. I hope I wasn't waking people up in the houses, but I think they were too far away to notice. I decided to leave them alone and come back later.
An hour or so later, I came back and the parents were still protective, but I saw no chicks at all. I went around to the bushes to see how the parents would react, but they didn't seem really excited and I saw no chicks. Then, I saw a lone chick get up and run several yards away and disappear. I didn't find any other chicks. I walked over to where the chick used to be and the parents went nuts, but still no other chicks. When the adults made their calls, I also heard no responses, possibly because they weren't in need of being kept warm at that time.
I will be posting a movie-slideshow later on. I may not be able to see these chicks again because, at twelve or thirteen hours old, they were already very adept at hiding and running.
Update on other killdeers:
Little Male and his mate was nowhere to be seen. However, I thought I saw a third adult stop by the area where M2 and F3 were raising their chicks, but it didn't stay. It's possible that was Little Male and he may be nesting nearby.
M4 was not at his home, but several killdeers were heard across a small bay that could have been him and the two ballpark killdeers who were absent from the ballpark when I first arrived. The male arrived back on the field as I was leaving. M4's territory was ground zero for the fireworks yesterday. I expect that he will be back in his territory within the next few days. I also expect to see Little Male sometime in the next week either at a nest or on his beach.