Tiny Killdeer Fluffballs

A couple weeks ago I posted about a Killdeer nest in the school’s butterfly garden. Well, sometime within the last twenty-four hours, the chicks hatched, so this afternoon once I finished up my cleaning and packing I headed to the garden to snap a few last photos.

Family portrait - mom with two of the four chicks.
Family portrait – mom with two of the four chicks.

There are basically two types of bird babies: altricial and precocial. Altricial chicks are those born naked and helpless, needing constant parental care, like these guys:

Photo by Qatar&Me, via Wikimedia Commons.

Not Killdeer chicks! These babies are precocial, born fluffy and ready to run – think “precocious.” And they are cuuuuuuuute. Their markings are very similar to adults, except that chicks only have one dark band across their chest instead of two.

013 (1024x687)007 (1024x685)I may be leaving tomorrow, but life here goes on – a new generation of baby birds growing up, more wildflowers coming into bloom, fields buzzing with insects. Goodbye, Wisconsin. It’s been an education.

6 replies on “Tiny Killdeer Fluffballs”

I work with kestrel chicks and it’s incredible how different they are from their first days and midway through the brooding period…. but I didn’t anticipate the differences a few hours can make after hatching! Killdeers are apparently amazing in a different way.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Killdeers defend their nests, but never been around to see the chicks. What good luck you had with it!

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