A family of Killdeer at Mono LakeJuly 14th, 2012 by Jackie, Information Center & Bookstore Assistant
I didn’t mean to disturb that family of Killdeer while I was walking one afternoon near some freshwater ponds on the north side of Mono Lake, but disturb them I did. Killdeer parents get quite vocal during nesting season, and begin squawking and acting distressed if one ventures within a hundred feet or so of their nest. Some birds throw a fit from a greater distance, and since their nests are in open places but blend in with the sand and gravel so nicely, one can literally be standing two feet from the eggs and not even see them.
On this particular afternoon, both parents were together and making a racket, both were acting like they had broken wings and the noise was loud. I figured the nest must be quite close for them to behave like that.
I glanced around, looked at the ground here and there and saw nothing, so I decided to head away from the parent birds. Dragonflies distracted me. Pretty blue striped bodies caught my attention and they were flying so close I thought maybe one had landed so I looked down. Right at my feet was a Killdeer chick! A little ball of fluff with stripes across its face, frozen in the grasses, not moving at all. I squatted close, took a photo, then stood up and looked down my back trail. Seeing the path was clear, I left, but watched where I placed each foot until I was clear of the area.