When it comes to nature, I rarely get involved. But I made an exception this past weekend. Do you remember the post with the pictures of the killdeer eggs? The bird built the nest a few feet from where our new water lines were going through. I roped the area off with survey stakes and orange tape. On the day that the dozier came through, I went out and spoke to the big, burly, bearded guy about the nest. I asked him if I needed to move the eggs while he worked. He assured me that he would have no problem navigating that beast around the nest. Word must have spread because every piece of machinery that entered our driveway carefully stayed away from the killdeer nest. I never doubted these guys. I've worked in construction for years. But some of y'all questioned whether or not they would be careful around the nest. Now, you know.
So, days go by and according to my records, it's time for the eggs to hatch. One hatches and a couple of days go by and the other three eggs are just sitting there. The damn mama takes off; figuring her work is done. Ha! On Saturday, while I'm out mowing the lawn, I notice that one of the eggs is cracked open. I immediately shut the mower off and look around. Sure enough, there's the littlest dude. Freshly hatched and wobbly as can be. I can not just leave him there; after all we've been through together. His mom is long gone and he's so tiny and all alone. Killdeer are precocial birds, like chicks and ducklings. They hatch fully formed and ready to roll. Our killdeer chicks in the past hatch out and are gone by the second day, but the mama is around long enough to teach them the ropes.
What to do? What to do? I got a basket and lined it with rags and put the littlest dude in it to try and keep him warm. He felt so cold. I even got out one of our fleece socks and wrapped him in it. I put a light on the basket for added warmth and hit the Internet. There are times when I really love the computer. This was one of them. I found out how to take care of an orphaned killdeer chick and started cooking. First I tried hard boiled egg yolk. The littlest dude didn't seem to really like it, but I did get him to nibble on some. Lights went out and the dude went to bed.
The next morning, I drove into town to get meal worms at Pet Smart. Wasted trip. The littlest dude didn't want anything to do with them. I mixed up a small batch of sugar water and fed him with a syringe. When the sun came up enough and it was warm out, I put the basket outside, turned on it's side. I watched from the deck; so tempted to go and pick up the chick, but knew that he needed to do this on his own. He looked strong and healthy. He started hopping around. I went about my day, but kept checking on him. By the end of the day, the littlest dude was gone. I can't hear his peeping anywhere. He's off on his own, doing what he was born to do. Part of me was sad to see that he was gone, but I knew that this was for the best. I helped him through his rough patch and now he was ready to begin the rest of his life. I hope he (or she) returns next year to start a family of his own.
Long may you run my sweet baby bird~
Until next time.....