DIGGING DEEPER

Wildlife on the Farm

Hello shareholders and friends!

You have been hearing a lot about the different vegetables at 47th Ave, but did you know about the numerous animal species that call 47th Ave home?  This season we have seen many birds, red-tailed hawks, moles, pheasants, voles, shrews, field mice, foxes, and we recently heard some coyotes yipping in the distance.   We are all particularly fond of one bird whose loud call has made quite the impression on this year’s crew.  This bird is called the Killdeer- it gets this common name from what it seems to say in its yell.  Shrill cries of, “kill-deaahhh, kill-deaahhh” can be heard throughout the fields this time of year when the birds are caring for their nests and their young.   Killdeer adults have a brown back and wings, a white belly, and a white breast with two black bands.  The face and cap are brown with a white forehead. 

The birds breed in open fields (and even lawns with increasing habitat loss) which are often quite far from water.  They lay their eggs on gravel by making only a slight depression in the stones.  They do not line their nests so their speckled black and white eggs blend in marvelously with the background.  The eggs themselves appear like stones.   The adults display a very interesting behavior to protect their nests.  They will feign a broken wing and distress call to draw predators away.  Earlier this season we, at 47th Ave, saw many birds attempting to draw us farmers away from their nests.  They have been mostly successful- especially since we are interested in the weeds near our veggies rather than their eggs.  The only times we approach the nests are to place flags around them for protection.  If there are flags around a nest we can make sure to avoid that patch of field when tilling.  In this way we have attempted to protect the Killdeer population that uses our fields for habitat.  I am happy to say that many of the eggs are now hatching with healthy baby Killdeer zooming about on their tiny legs.  The youngest birds are able to move, but they depend on their parents to bring them food still. Killdeer eat mostly insects like weevils, many beetle species, and beetle larvae.  As such, they can be helpful in protecting our crops from pests.  Yet another reason why protecting animal habitat is better for everyone!

An Adult Killdeer

Killdeer (Lung, Jim 2003)

The Broken Wing Act

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Broken Wing Act (Lung, Jim 2003)

 

Killdeer Nest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Killdeer Nest (Lung, Jim 2003)