Nature, Outside, Science/Math

For the Birds

Killdeer eggs  Photo courtesy Mike Williams
Killdeer eggs
Photo courtesy Mike Williams

We are batty about birds at our house.

About 10 days ago we discovered a killdeer nest. These shorebirds create nests on the ground, rather than in trees. Our bird laid four speckled eggs among the decorative rocks in our front yard. We’ve been checking the nest periodically to see how our birds are faring.

Photo courtesy Mike Williams

These birds have an interesting defense against predators. Whenever someone approaches the nest, one bird acts as if it has a broken wing to draw the predator away. It’s fascinating to watch.

Today we discovered NestWatch from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. We were able to create our nest on the site, get certified as nest watchers and input data from our nest checks. Cornell scientists are especially interested in nests from the following species: American Robin, Northern Mockingbird, Northern Cardinal, Mourning Dove, Barn Swallow, and House Finch. But if you discover any type of nest, you can put it on the site and share your data. This is a fun and easy way for kids to become animal scientists.

We also recently discovered male California quail on our property. These birds just make us giggle. What fun it would be to find a quail nest. We’ll keep you posted.

California quail
Photo courtesy Mike Williams

11 thoughts on “For the Birds”

  1. Oh what fun! I didn’t know about the nest site – I’ll have to check that out. WE have a nest under the roof of our front porch. Every spring, flycatchers raise 2 sets of babies there (I don’t know if it’s the same pair or 2 different pairs, but there are always 2 sets.) This year, a pair of purple finches snuck in first and chased the flycatchers away. They built the nest up much deeper, and have hatched babies. But the nest is so deep we can’t see in! so I don’t know how many little ones there are 🙂

    1. Susanna, it’s interesting because apparently there are some species (like cowbirds) that take over other nests. I knew nothing about it until going through the Web site. Maybe you can find another nest to watch. Or you could break out your girlhood tree-climbing skills. 🙂

  2. You are great getting straight onto it like that. What beautiful birds too, I look fotward to some chick pics.

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