Tag Archives: Killdeer




Killdeer spread their wings
over indentations in the crushed
gravel, over four speckled eggs

that look like granite washed
off the mountains and mined
from an ancient alluvium,

then hauled up the canyon
and spread like a blanket
in our driveway to keep

summer’s dust down
or getting stuck in winter’s
mud when it decides to rain.

Sometimes in the spring,
we mark them with a rock
to avoid lest we forget

little puffs on toothpicks
born on the run for bugs
and the cover of the creek.







I could have been born a bird
on a gravel island in the creek,
learn to hide in a small world

before I found the gentle grace
to fly, hop rock to rock
as mother drew intruders off

with shoreline flaps of her white
petticoats, feigning injury,
crying seriously in low circles.

I could have been born a bird
without certainty, without worries
about my death or taxes.


Killdeer Update



Keeping track of our cattle is never perfect, but keeping track of the Killdeer, even for a short time, requires so much assumption and speculation that it verges on fiction. Nevertheless, our Killdeer, defending the eggs in her nest, disappeared with her babies for the creek last week. Due to the drought and a creek that hasn’t run much for the past three years, we’ve had only one Killdeer nesting in our gravel driveway so far this spring.

Robbin noted that one of our pair of crows was carrying what appeared to be the white fluff of a Killdeer chick back to their nest earlier this week. We know how it goes, everyone is someone’s breakfast. But yesterday, crossing the remaining puddles in the creek, we found two chicks and an attentive, adult Killdeer in the cobbles and grass.

Getting two out of four to the creek, 200 yards and across the road, is a good percentage when one considers the gopher snake on the prowl for eggs, the crows and a variety of other predators. It’s a leap to assume this is the same Killdeer, but with no others around our driveway to the house, not as far as you might think.


Killdeer Nesting



Not far from the Roadrunner’s cactus nest, a Killdeer is also sitting on eggs. The shoulder of our gravel driveway usually offers three or four Killdeer a good place to hide and incubate their eggs. To keep from running over them, we’ve been known to place a rock close to the nest. Once hatched, the Killdeer takes her babies to the creek about 200 yards away. But barely running this year and last, we’ve only this one Killdeer nesting.

I had hoped to get photos of her broken wing act, her ploy to lure the dogs away. But she stood her ground yesterday to protect her nest.


For The Birds





Juvenile Blue Heron

Juvenile Blue Heron