The Arboretum’s Pumpkin Patch (on the knoll east of the Learning Center) offers more than just the creeping tendrils of award-winning pumpkin and melon varieties. It also grants a prime space (maybe not in our opinion!) for a Killdeer pair to nest their eggs.
This Killdeer mother crouched protectively over her cache of four eggs last Friday, crying to her partner to fend off us unwanted visitors. Like all Killdeer, her nest was nothing more than a shallow depression, hardly visible to a walking visitor. Arboretum grounds found the eggs only at this bird’s insistence on protecting them.
The father, who showed shortly, came close enough for us to grasp, then flopped on his back in the grass not but feet away, employing the “broken wing act” to distract us from the nest as easy prey.
The Killdeer eggs, speckled and camoflauged, blended in with the edge of the woodchipped path to the Patch, as is usual for any ground-nesting bird.
Despite the mother’s pleas and father’s mock distress, this nest was moved to a safer location later in the day. The baby Killdeer, once hatched, will immediately be able to move about their surroundings – hopefully to scout a better nesting ground!