We have more chicks on Metinic! Two Killdeer nests have hatched, and our first Spotted sandpiper chicks were found yesterday! Our first Killdeer nest hatched almost a month ago and the chicks are just about to fledge (begin to fly). Charlie was able to catch a Killdeer chick while it was still fluffy, and again, a few days ago, when it could almost fly away from him! We never found either nest, but two new young and fluffy Killdeer chicks have now appeared in the tern colony! Killdeer are a large plover with two black rings around their neck, but these “shorebirds” are not confined to coastlines. Their breeding range is the northern United States to central Canada and can be found on the coast, on estuaries, and even in fields. Breeding adults are well known for feigning injury, displaying a “broken” wing to predators. This tricks a predator into thinking the adult is an easy meal. The Killdeer will lure the predator away from the nest site, and then suddenly fly away when eggs or chicks are safe.
Our first Spotted Sandpiper chicks hatched from a nest that we had not found (we have three nests flagged), and are, we believe, our cutest chicks yet! We spotted two chicks but we could have been missing some since they are very small and camouflage with the cobble.
Spotted Sandpipers bob their tails up and down when they are standing, and the chicks are no exception!It was adorable to watch clementine sized fluff balls bob up and down. Their breeding range is the northern United States up through Canada. They prefer pebble beaches on lakes, streams and seashores as nesting sites. Jennie caught one that was stumbling away from her, ensuring the photo op! Enjoy the pictures!
And soon to come…. Tern chicks! On Thursday we found three eggs with “pips”! Pips are little spider web like cracks on an egg that are caused by a chick poking at the shell with its bill from inside!
The chicks have to “pip” in a circle around the eggshell in order to pop the top of the shell off. A chick will continue in a circle until it can finally poke its bill through the eggshell. This is called a window! After a chick makes a window, it still continues to break the shell in a circle until finally the top pops off! This whole process can take up to four days! We could find our first chick today! Now if only the rain and fog would go away so we can find it…..
~Waiting in anticipation, the Metinic Crew, Jennie and Charlie