Wednesday, August 14

A Little Plover in Trouble

I've heard the squawking of plover's quite a bit lately, and if I had taken the time to think about it, I'd have probably guessed that there was a nest nearby.  This morning, the evidence was there for me to see.  Two tiny plovers were running back and forth around my back lawn, and the parents were on the other side of the fence, squawking instructions to them and/or warning other birds (butcher birds mainly) to keep their distance.

I stood by my window watching in awe as these tiny birds ran back and forth around the lawn, packing occasionally at something within the blades of grass.  Then one ducked under the fence and returned to the parents, leaving the other one near my water tank.  The parent birds called and the tiny thing tried in vain to reach them.  The reality is it was only inches away from an 'escape' route, but didn't see it and didn't reach it as it dashed back and forth.   Several times it attempted to climb over the bottom rail of the fence but failed and then slumped breathless onto the stones.

Two butcher birds flew over head and the plovers flew at them screeching and squarking in their shrill warning cry.  I watched wondering if they'd attack me if I tried to intervene....

It was too much for me - I knew if I squeezed between the side fence and the water tank, the baby bird would run away from me and hopefully identify its escape route, so I warily crept out and did what I though would solve the problem.  It was of course successful, and as the tiny creature fled from me, it found its way under the fence.

Not before I had taken a photo of it.

Hard to see - but it is there on the stones, with the parent bird on the other side of the fence.
 They are beautiful birds and tend to be very scary, but I've not known of anyone to be hurt by their spurs.  Plovers are common around Brisbane, and happily breed in the most amazing places - and often barriers are put around the nest to protect them.  

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