Today I went out to visit a local tree nursery that belongs to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry. I am taking a class to the nursery next week and I wanted to get an idea of what we would be seeing. It is right off a major highway, so it is nearby and easily accessible, but once you turn up their driveway it is lush and secluded.
It is a beautiful area that the kids are really going to love–a place to explore where they can have some freedom while still being safely contained. There are Canadian geese, interesting flowers blooming, fallen logs. a small creek, and plenty of trees to practice identifying.
One of the employees graciously showed me around and at one spot he pointed out this amazing find:
Can you see it? They have marked the area with the orange flags so no one runs over it when moving the lawn. This is actually a killdeer bird nest! They nest right out on the open ground, and it is amazing how well the eggs blend in. They are speckled to look like stones and when the babies hatch they will already be able to move around. This is important because they don’t have the protection of a “normal” nest!
Let’s zoom in a bit:
Aren’t they beautiful?
Personally, I’ve only really seen killdeer in tidal areas like the beach, but they apparently often nest far from the water. If you want to see what the adults look like you can check out a picture here. They are one of the birds that will pretend to have a broken wing in order to lure predators away from the nest.
To be honest, I am not sure if I would have seen this nest if I had been by myself! It is a good reminder for me to keep looking closer and really notice my surroundings. The employee I spoke to said the eggs will probably be hatched by the time I come out to the nursery with the kids, so we might be able to see the “little fluff-ball” babies running around. I can’t wait!