Category Archives: Killdeer

More Signs Of Spring

I didn’t go to the farm Tuesday because I was busy making soap, but while my husband was out there making maple syrup he called me to let me know that the killdeer had returned. Each year a pair (presumably the same pair) of killdeer set up home on the farm. They never fail to select a fairly high traffic area to build their nest. A couple years it was right on the edge of the driveway, after that it was in the beach area, and last year it was in the prayer garden. Once they build their nest and their lay eggs they treat us as intruders. They run around and screech at us and do their broken wing dance to try to get us out of the area.

Although their behavior can be annoying, I understand where they are coming from. I was also an over protective parent when my kids were young, and there were probably a few people who thought I was annoying. I use to say that I watched them like a hawk, but maybe the phrase watched them like a killdeer would be more appropriate.

There are some benefits to having killdeer on the farm. One of them is that baby killdeer are so darn cute, and it is quite entertaining watching the mother and father try to keep track of three or four babies running all over the place. Killdeer babies are up and out of the nest within about a day or two after being hatched, but the parents tend to them for several weeks until they begin to fly. Another benefit is that unlike robins and many of the other birds who frequent our farm killdeer do not eat berries, they eat bugs and larva. They are a natural insecticide and since we avoid the use of any chemicals on the farm we can use all the help we can get.

Welcome back Mr. and Mrs. Killdeer!

The following pictures were taken in the spring of 2017

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Killdeer sitting on the nest – could be Mom or Dad since they share the responsibility.

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The other parent on watch nearby.

 

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Three of the four babies have hatched.

The other major sign that spring is here is that the maple sap is turning cloudy. My husband noticed this yesterday. When the sap begins to run cloudy instead of clear it is no longer good for making syrup. Tuesday, March 27 was our last day of cooking syrup this year.

We did not keep records of how much sap we collected or how much syrup we actually ended up with, but I’d estimate that we made between 4 and 5 gallons of syrup this year.

I’m seeing lots pancakes and French toast in our future. 🙂

Sights of Spring

This is the day the Lord has made…

I didn’t make it out to the farm until yesterday afternoon. As I walked past the prayer garden I and looked for the killdeer eggs this is what I saw.

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“They weren’t hatched this morning” my husband said.

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Both parents were near by screeching and doing the broken wing act to try to get us out of the area. I expect the babies will be running all around the area soon. I am happy that I can weed that side of the prayer garden now.

My husband’s main task for the day was cleaning frames from the bee hives. He first lets the bees do their part. He sets out the frames that still have honey and wax and lets the bees take what they want. Once they stop visiting a frame he finishes cleaning it before putting it back in a hive.

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As I walked around the farm I observed bees foraging amongst the apple blossoms. I made many attempts at photographing them. They were too busy to pose for a picture, so this was the best I got.

IMG_2573The bees were also collecting a lot of dandelion pollen. This lady stopped for a few seconds, so I was able to get a clear shot before she moved on.

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Last week we observed something that neither my husband, who has spent much of his life around ponds, creeks, rivers and lakes, or I have ever witnessed before. The toads had all made their way to this shallow grassy area of our pond and were mating there.

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There were too many to count and as we stood there watching more toads were arriving for the party.

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Yesterday as I walked by that area of the pond I noticed tiny black tadpoles apparently just hatching.

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We also spotted minnows swimming in the beach area.

For the past two years only one of our young lilac bushes has blossomed. When I mentioned this to my son-in-law last summer he suggested that I spread wood ash around them. Last fall I did spread wood ash around all of the lilac bushes and some of our apple trees as well.

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This year 10 of our 15 lilac bushes have blossoms.

Our apple trees also have more blossoms than they ever have before.

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Several years ago around just before Mother’s day my husband and I planted some trilliums in a wooded area of our farm. These were one of my mom’s favorite wild flowers, and we planted them as a tribute to mom who passed away the same year we bought our farm.

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Mom’s trilliums are beginning to bloom, appropriately, in time for Mother’s day.

Visitors are another common sight at the farm during the warm weather seasons, and it was good to have our first visitors of spring.

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Two of our daughters, Kara and Lindell, stopped by for a visit yesterday afternoon. They were dancing as they came up the driveway since my husband had a classic rock station playing on the radio.

Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

 

Awaiting Their Arrival

It was no surprise when the pair of killdeer showed up in the spring. It is our assumption that it is this same pair that show up every year and build their nest in inconvenient places on our farm. The first couple years the nest was right on the edge of our driveway. My husband put large rocks near it so that it would not get run over. After we put in the pond they nested just off the beach for a couple years.

This year when I saw the pair hanging out in the prayer garden everyday I told my husband “I’m sure they have a nest there. I just don’t know where.” I was concerned because I     didn’t want to accidently step on it. As my husband examined the area he pointed out the three eggs that were camouflaged in the wood mulch nest.

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Now we visit Momma Killdeer, who also blends into the background, every day as we walk past. She often just sits on the nest while we stand as close as five or six feet away. Other time she gets disturbed and screeches at us. I’ve reminded her several times that she was not invited to use our prayer garden as her birthing room, and since we intend her no harm she will have to put up with us. Sometimes Daddy Killdeer will show up and do the broken wing act to try to lure us away from the area.  He does this more often if Scout and Trooper are near. In prior years the boys seemed to enjoy the chase but this year they don’t seem to pay much attention.

Since they have been there for several weeks now, we expect the chicks to hatch soon. The link below says that killdeer eggs take 24-26 days to hatch and then the parents guard them for another 25 days until they are old enough to fly. Although the screeching killdeer can be annoying, the baby killdeer running around are incredibly cute. These killdeer, who are bug and larva eaters, will do their part in keeping insect populations down, and we consider them a welcome addition to our farm.

http://www.wbu.com/chipperwoods/photos/killdeer.htm