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

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Update on killdeer chicks, 1.5 days old now

Killdeer chicks this morning

I only saw three killdeer chicks, as I did yesterday, so there may have been only three to begin with. They were being brooded right at the edge of the water. Actually, I think what happened was that they went into freeze mode as I approached as they were already feeding there. The ducks were coming back to that area from being fed, so I thought I should leave the area so that the parents could move the chicks before they got stepped on by the ducks.

When I came back a couple of hours later, I saw a gull with a black, long-legged chick in it's bill, dunking it in the water. I couldn't get him to drop it and he flew off along with a heron and some other scavengers. The parents went crazy as I walked up to that area, so I thought, for sure, that the gulls had actually killed off all the chicks. Someone had also left bread in the area, attracting the scavengers. But, the adult killdeer seemed to enjoy it, too. I never knew that killdeer will eat bread.

Someone said, later, that she saw a small bird chasing attacking a gull somewhere else, so it's possible that it got another bird's chick, possibly one of a swallow or a phoebe. But, I was really upset and wanted to cry until I knew that at least two of the chicks were safe.

Gulls scavenging bread someone left, the brown one was the one with the chick

After sitting and listening, I was able to figure out where the chicks actually were, right where mom and dad left them, all three. When they stay hidden where mom and dad left them, they do not call out and stay really still and quiet. So, I found them, in the mud, behind some rocks. I went away and came back to check on them one more time before I left and found that they had already left and ran into the brush. Not worth looking for them in there as I knew they were OK and probably in separate areas. I heard them calling back to mom and dad's call. Very cute! Little peeps in response to the very noisy parents.

The three chicks were hiding 50 feet away. I moved a couple pebbles to get a clearer shot

Some fisherman walked by right where the chicks were laying in the mud a few minutes before. I was glad that they had moved as they might have gotten stepped on. Their instinct to stay immobile is a problem, especially when people are walking around the area. Hopefully, people will look and see where they're stepping and I won't be seeing a dead chick when I check on them tomorrow morning. A lot of the fisherman have been avoiding that area because of the screaming parents and that might be a good thing. But, some just ignore them.

More updates tomorrow, I hope some happy ones.

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