The killdeer eggs hatched on Tuesday!
Like all baby shorebirds, killdeer chicks are precocial: they’re feathered and able to walk soon after they hatch. This is a good idea when your nest is an unprotected patch of gravel. The babies resemble tiny legged fluffballs and are too adorable for words. The parents have also broken their silence and now are constantly (and loudly! Suddenly their Latin name makes sense!) calling, whether to keep in contact with the chicks or to distract predators I don’t know.
One of the most entertaining things about killdeer is their distraction display. When a predator approaches the nest or the young, the parent will pretend to have a broken wing and lead the intruder away from the offspring, only to fly away at the last minute. (For the record, I do not advocate harassing killdeer for entertainment.)
The young family already seems to have moved away from the ponds. They weren’t in sight this afternoon. I suppose it’s just as well, because the ponds themselves present a drowning hazard to the fluffballs, who can neither fly nor climb out of them. However, they haven’t gone far; even over the sounds of nearby road work, the parents’ anxious peeping is still audible.
I have further baby bird news, or potential baby bird news. The eagles have rebuilt their nest! It probably wasn’t wise of them to locate it in the same tree as before, but who am I to point this out to them?