Time marches on

I can’t believe that the year is almost half gone!

But the weather here at WestWind Farms has been beautiful. The gardens are well on their way, and so far, the rains have been gentle and ample.

As I sat on the front porch this morning, munching my poached eggs and toast, a red-breasted robin went a bob, bob, bobbing along. She had her mouth full of squirming fat worms but continued to search for another one, leaving me to believe that her four deep blue eggs had hatched in her grass-lined mud nest in the hedge.

Moments later, by the time I had finished my last bite of breakfast, a pair of killdeer scampered side by side up the driveway, apparently just travelling from point A to B, as they seemed reluctant to fly and not to be looking for insects.

I strongly suspect that they, being ground nesters, were looking for a new place to nest, as part of our bigger garden had been reworked by heavy machinery the day before, and their well-camouflaged clutch of four eggs had been unseen and consequently broken.

A half hour later, as I scooted on Jennie, my jitney, I went to the road via our side driveway. At the road, a different pair of killdeer scampered across in front of me, with their tiny feet and legs moving so precisely that their movement appeared to be on wheels. Their repeated plaintive calling told me that they definitely had a nest nearby. I backed off and decided to watch.

The female, having completed her broken wing act while I was nearby, immediately came back across the road and with only a moment’s hesitation headed for a patch of loose scattered gravel that the snowplow had inadvertently thrown there during the winter. She squatted almost immediately, cupping her wings just slightly, and it was then that I knew she had selected this location to lay her four eggs.

When Jennie, my jitney, and I once again came closer, she immediately backed off and once again, as before, went into her broken wing act. There they were, four of them, large for the size of the bird, liberally blotched with dark brown, sitting tightly together with the small end of each egg pointing down.

They blended so completely with the patch of gravel stones that should you glance elsewhere, it was difficult to refocus on their placement. Her nest, a slight impression in the soil, was sparsely lined with a few sprigs of tiny twigs and circled closely with a ring of small pebbles.

The killdeer was originally a shorebird that only moved in from the lakeshores when invading people clear-cut the open fields.

It is a good example of a bird that was able to take advantage of the ramshackle planning of humans.

The large, wide farm equipment has lessened severely their chances. The missing trees, by field expansion, seem not to bother them, as they do not perch like other birds – sun, wind or rain they are happy on the ground.

Their young hatch in 28 days, are fully mobile, and quite capable of running after their mother within a few minutes after releasing themselves from the confinement of the egg. 

It took me two years to get up off of my butt and walk.

Take care, ’cause we care.




Barrie Hopkins