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And The Oscar Goes To - Ms Killdeer

June 01, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 172

One thing I've noticed over the last twelve years of living on our central Texas ranch is that no two days are ever alike. One day I might wake to the sound of a Roadrunner pecking at the window or a Tom Turkey gazing at his reflection and "strutting his stuff", thinking he has competition in the neighborhood. The next day as I look out the window in the early morning I might see a family of gray foxes foraging for food or a bobcat walking across the front porch as if he owns the place.

One Friday afternoon as we drove up the driveway to our central Texas ranch (not far from the Crawford, TX ranch of George W. and Laura Bush) in anticipation of a relaxing weekend in the country, we noticed a Killdeer behaving erratically. Everyone knows the story of how George W. inadvertently shot a Killdeer mistaking it for a dove back in 1994. We then spotted a small depression in the gravel and a nest of four brown-spotted, tan eggs in the middle of our driveway and realized this was the reason for the bird's behavior. In order to prevent anyone from driving over the nest, we strategically placed large rocks along with a few red survey flags around the perimeter of the nest and warned our expected visitors to be on the lookout as they drove in.

Over the next few weeks, we watched as she and her mate patiently guarded the eggs. We knew nothing about this comical little bird, and were taken in by her "injured-wing" act. As I approached her nest to sneak a peek she darted off screeching "Kill-dee, Kill-dee, dee-dee-dee", and her left wing hung loosely as if it was injured. As I moved closer she would scuttle forward and her right wing appeared to be injured. I then realized she was putting on a show to lure me away from her nest. As I turned and walked back toward the nest, the histrionics became even more pronounced. It was fun to see this display over the next few weeks. We would entertain our guests and ourselves by approaching the nest and then watch her "one-woman show".

We were only at the ranch on weekends, so we assumed that the eggs would hatch on one of the five days when we were at home in Dallas. Much to our surprise, we happened to be at the ranch on a Saturday and noticed that the babies were pecking their way out of their shells. We stayed away so as not to stress the mother out, and when we got a chance we looked and saw that all four small babies had hatched. The next day three of them were trailing behind their mother; they were ready to take on the world. One baby didn't make it, and the concerned mother kept coming back to check on it but eventually stopped. The little ones looked like miniatures of their parents and in less than twenty-four hours after hatching were already self-sufficient - if only all parenting could be that easy. We saw the little family a few times after that day and consider ourselves fortunate to have been a part of this rare event.

Life in the country is packed with unexpected pleasures. You only have to look as far as your own backyard if you choose to have a place in the country as either a weekend getaway or a full-time home.

Reba McGowan


Put on the brakes and picture what life in the country is like. As someone well-versed in country living, I can help you envision a lifestyle you may never have imagined. A few major benefits of country life are personal and family enrichment, long-term investment opportunities, agri-business and recreation. Residing in the country and helping others find a place in the country in which to live out their dreams has enriched my family.

Source: EzineArticles
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