Killdeer parents on sentry dutyPhoto by: Earthfire

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. —

They are so utterly charming, those delicate killdeer who arrive as harbingers of spring and race along the ground so fast and smoothly they look like they are moving on a conveyor belt. Except for those little legs, which go a mile a minute.

Each year they return, their plaintive cries filling the air. They lay their eggs on the ground, always a risk, but they have two survival tricks. One is when you approach a nest, they run away, trying to lure you with cries and the appearance of being injured. The other is their camouflage. They lay their eggs on rocky ground and darned if you will ever see them.

The other day, Jean called me over to the buffalo pasture. He told me to get a camera. By the time I had gotten it and returned, he had wandered a bit and then couldn’t find it again. He had found (and lost) a killdeer nest.

We both paced the ground for perhaps five minutes. He had a marker stone as a guide but still, it took both of us a long time of searching before we came upon it—a lovely killdeer nest with four eggs. I share the pictures with you here…

(Click to enlarge)

Early Summer in the Tetons

The winds, the eternal winds, flow down from the mountains, sending cooling breezes on a late June afternoon.

Dr. Susan Eirich is the Founder and Executive Director of Earthfire Institute Wildlife Sanctuary and Retreat Center. A licensed psychologist, biologist and educator, her goal is to widen the circle of conversation about conservation to include the voices of all living beings.

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