Nests, Eggs and Babies

During the winter one of the projects undertaken by several WR&E volunteers and staff was to upgrade their incubation program.  A great deal of research went into improving the candling, heat, humidity and turning of the eggs.  It was an interesting project and the center is looking forward to implementing new procedures.  Almost all birds are protected by international treaties which are enforced by the United States Fish and Wildlife, this includes eggs. When USF&W grants permission to “take” the eggs they can be brought to the Wildlife Center. These international treaties also protect the nest as well. The most common bird egg that is brought to the Wildlife Center is the Killdeer.  Killdeer look a little like a sandpiper, but they are a grassland bird. They like both natural grasslands like plains and prairies and manmade grasslands like pastures, golf courses and suburban lawns. They are about the size of a Cardinal, but stand 9 – 11 inches tall because of long stilt-like legs. Killdeer don’t build nests, but instead lay 4 speckled eggs in a shallow depression or among gravel or small rocks.  It is best known for pretending to have a broken wing to lure predators away from the nest or young. To make sure the predator sees they are “injured” they call kill-DEE in a very loud voice. The babies are precocial, which means that soon after they hatch they are running about and foraging for themselves. They look like a miniature adult. The parents provide protection and may show the babies where good food is, but they don’t actually feed the babies. The babies are all grown up by the end of the summer. They live just about everywhere in [...]