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An open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond

Killdeer mom was protecting her nest

Miniature Killdeer are scampering around the short course at Wayzata Country Club today, but before they hatched this is what the nest and eggs looked like, and this is the distraction display the mother used in her attempt to lure me away from the nest. The eggs were laid in the slightest of depressions in landscape rock surrounding a small tree. This is exactly where a Killdeer, perhaps the same bird, nested in 2014. Killdeer might actually use the same nest year to year because the construction is undetectable. I was checking bluebird nest boxes when I took these photos, working with a box near her nest. She was back on her eggs when I got about 50 yards away. The last two photos show the 2014 family (four eggs, three survivors), and a chick attacking a grasshopper.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet flares his crown when excited

The red “crown” of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet is difficult to see under usual circumstances. Its feathers lie tight to the head. Find a kinglet in an excited or agitated state, however, and you’ll see red feathers standing erect as challenge and warning. This is what's seen by competitors for nesting territory or mates. The bird is flexing its muscles, so to speak. The photos were taken in late April in Montana.

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